Factsheet: Why Workers Fast Against Firings

Why Workers, Unions, Religious Leaders and Community Members
Join in 3-day Fast

The Problem:

  • Everyone, regardless of their status, has a basic human right to a livelihood, to support one’s family. This is core to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and many religious teachings. 
  • I-9 audits by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the federal Department of Homeland Security deny workers their basic human right to work, and creates needless hardship for immigrant families as they are thrust into unemployment and poverty.
  • When hundreds of workers are fired from their jobs, the damage is felt far beyond the workers themselves — by unions, employers and whole communities. Many communities have voiced their opposition to these “silent raids” because they hurt everyone.
  • Very often I-9 audits by ICE are used to threaten or fire immigrant workers who are organizing for better wages and working conditions, and to join unions.

The Purpose of this Action:

  • This 3-day hunger strike by over two dozen workers, religious leaders and community allies is deeply personal and public action to make more visible the harm done to hundreds of immigrant families in the Bay Area who have been devastated by unjust firings by ICE. 
  • This action serves to highlight the deluge of recent firings in the Bay Area: (Dobake Bakery in Oakland – 125, Albanese Construction in South Bay – 200+, hundreds pending at Mi Pueblo Market, Pacific Steel in Berkeley – 214, and ABM – 475, among others).
  • Congress is pushing a reform bill poised to make matters worse. The bill will make the employment verification program, E-Verify, mandatory for all employers, and the firings we are seeing now will become much more widespread. We oppose making the E-Verify system mandatory. 

Our Demands:

  • We call for stopping the attack on immigrant workers through the firings, through the marginalization of domestic workers and day laborers, and the systematic exploitation of all workers. Making it a crime to work drives people further into poverty, or underground economies, and drives down workplace standards for all people.
  • Fasters are calling on our elected representatives to tell ICE and Congress to end these firings and take the mandatory use of E-Verify out of the immigration bill. Take Action here.
  • Fasters seek to transform hearts and minds to stop making it a crime to work in this country.