Fred Redmond, International Vice President of the United Steelworkers (USW) and member of the AFL-CIO executive council, joined others from the American labor movement to gather information for a report on Alabama’s draconian immigration law. The objective is to advise the labor movement and other organizations on how they can assist people impacted by the law.
The AFL-CIO-sponsored delegation of union leaders actively engaged in the struggle for civil and human rights recently spent a day in Birmingham and Pelham getting a first-hand view of the law’s affect by talking to community leaders and undocumented workers.
“It’s disturbing to us as working people,” said Redmond. “It’s disturbing to us as a movement, and it’s disturbing to us as a country to realize that in 2011, here in the state of Alabama, people are being disenfranchised. They’re being discriminated against. Kids are being denied the right of an education. This is not the America that we know.”
Listening to the shocking testimony of residents on the treatment and conditions being enforced on minorities, he said, “We thought we had this discussion here 40 years ago under the leadership of Dr. King. We think we took a stand in Alabama 40 years ago that all men are created equal.”
Mr. Redmond felt that the Republicans have had a lot to do with voter suppression not only in Alabama but across the country. “We see laws popping up around the country that are totally designed to disenfranchise people from the political process,” he said. “The good news is: it’s not going to work. Too many people gave their lives.”
Civil Rights leaders like Fred Redmond and the entire labor movement work tirelessly to eliminate laws that discriminate or disenfranchise. “America can only be a great country when we eliminate racial discrimination, voter suppression and the things that hold back the citizens of America. We’re all in this together, whether we are black, brown, yellow, white, whatever. We’ve got more serious problems in this country that we need to resolve.”