Issued February 14, 2019
Washington, D.C.—After months of pitting working people against each other based on race and ethnicity, and a 35-day government shutdown that Americans will continue feeling the effects of for decades to come, Congress is voting on a border security bill. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in response to the deal:
“While it is important that working Americans will not be held hostage to another painful and costly government shutdown, the funding deal reached today contains several harsh and harmful concessions that should not be necessary to keep the government open.
“Instead of advancing a cruel immigration agenda and causing more suffering in our communities, Congress should be making things right for the federally contracted workers who still have not received back pay from the shutdown.
“These working men and women—like SEIU members Faye Smith and Lila Johnson, and untold others—see the divide and conquer tactics for what they are: reckless and destructive efforts that pit people against each other based on race and ethnicity to keep working families from banding together. Their courage and fearlessness have helped keep the story of contract workers in the public consciousness, and they will not stop until they receive the back pay they deserve.
“Congress must focus its priorities on the real needs of the American people who are calling for affordable healthcare, the right to join a union no matter where you work and wages you can raise a family on. These are the real crises facing working families. President Trump should absolutely not declare a national emergency when one does not exist. President Trump and congressional Republicans need to get to work for working people.”