The following statement can be attributed to Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU.
“As the nation’s largest property service union and one of the largest representing immigrants, we are doubly appalled at the Republican-controlled Congress and the Trump administration’s reckless decision to shut down portions of the federal government in pursuit of a malicious and malignant border wall. The wall itself would be nothing less than a monument to intolerance, meant to sow doubt among potential immigrants and dread among those here already, which includes the majority of our 163,000 union members across the East Coast.
“The President and Republicans in Congress should focus their spending priorities on the real needs of Americans, millions of whom still live without adequate healthcare coverage. Instead, they are wasting taxpayer dollars on a shutdown that may affect services at numerous agencies, including Housing and Urban Development, and curtail hours at popular destinations during the holidays, like the Smithsonian. To blackmail Democrats into funding their hateful wall, the administration and Republican-controlled Congress are disrupting the regular paychecks of hundreds of thousands of government employees, including nearly 2,000 of our subcontracted union cleaners and security officers— men and women who cannot afford an interruption in their modest pay. In essence, Republicans are holding thousands of immigrant workers hostage in order to fund a wall to terrorize immigrants. It is a cowardly disgrace.
“At the ballot box in November, Americans showed overwhelmingly that they favored candidates who embrace the diversity of this nation. Americans know that immigrants are not just an essential part of our communities; immigrants are what define America. The Trump Administration and Republican-controlled Congress should accept this reality by returning to sensible proposals for security funding and re-opening the shuttered agencies immediately.”
With more than 163,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country