Unions are Training Hotel Workers to Face Down Immigration Raids

Hotel workers in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York have been gathering for training sessions recently on how to handle visits from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The sessions, organized by the labor union Unite Here!, teach workers how to effectively stonewall ICE agents, emphasizing employees’ right to refuse to answer questions or show identification.

This all puts hotels in a tricky position, says David Sherwyn, a former attorney for management who directs the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations. “It’s a balancing act between the wrath of the law and what they want to do and what they think is right,” he says. Laura Huizar, an attorney for the National Employment Law Project, a pro-labor nonprofit, says businesses often have more discretion than they understand. “Employers have rights, and they should prepare their teams to assert those rights,” says Huizar, who urges businesses to have a plan for how to deal with ICE. “Employers should practice for immigration enforcement in the same way that they would practice for a fire drill.”

Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton’s chief executive officers signed an August open letter urging Trump to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and Marriott has voiced concerns that the travel ban depressed tourism. But they’ve kept a lower profile than Unite Here had hoped for. Says Taylor: “They’re very scared of getting tweeted.”

Read the full article at Bloomberg Businessweek.


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