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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Monday, April 09, 2007 ::

    Unions look to sign up illegals as carpenters drown in foreign competition - SouthCoastToday.com, MA
    Virtually the entire house framing industry in New England over the past decade has been taken over by foreign nationals who will work far cheaper than Americans, unionized or otherwise.

    And in the booming house construction market on Nantucket, Salvadorans, Jamaicans and especially Brazilians — many of them "illegal immigrants" — are everywhere.

    The undocumenteds supposedly are working as "independent contractors," usually for around $15 an hour. Because they're independent contractors, their "employers" can skip out on paying into the workers compensation pool; the illegals, in turn, can skip out on paying taxes at the end of the year.

    The foreign workers have devastated the industry, driving down wages and benefits, not to mention job opportunities.

    So the members of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters — and a handful other construction unions such as the council of allied painters — have now officially given up fighting the tidal wave.
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