BTS 4/16/10: Labor and Immigration

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Tonight our theme is labor and immigration. We begin with Harold Meyerson, with us to talk about SEIU’s international clean-up Sodexo Campaign. Today outgoing SEIU President Andy Stern, Danny Glover and others were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in Gaithersburg Maryland, part of the SEIU’s global campaign to persuade Sodexo to stop interfering in the rights of workers to unionize. We’ll also ask Harold to assess Andy Stern’s stewardship of the labor movement’s largest union.

We are then joined by Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara, for a deeper look into Andy Stern’s leadership and legacy of the SEIU, Change to Win, and we’ll ask him about labor’s prospects.

Continuing on the labor theme, Jackie Goldberg, former California State Assemblywoman who serves on the National Workers’ Rights Board on the Los Angeles Carwash Industry joins us with Maria Aide Hernandez, a carwashera, to talk about the Carwash campaign in Los Angeles, where wage theft, environmental, health and safety abuses are widespread.

And finally, on tonight’s BTS, we talk to Jeffrey Kaye, veteran journalist (“Newshour” on PBS) and author, on his new book, Moving Millions: How Coyote Capitalism Fuels Global Immigration. He joins us in studio to talk about migrants today – people who are treated as supplies to be shifted around to meet demand — all are pieces of a larger system Kaye calls "coyote capitalism." Kaye knocks down myths about why immigrants come to America, what role they play in the economy, and challenges the view that immigrants themselves motivate immigration, rather than the policies of businesses and governments, and he finds surprising connections between globalization, economic growth and the convoluted immigration debates taking place in America and other industrialized countries. Kaye concludes that America's approach to importing workers looks from the outside like a patchwork of unnecessary laws and regulations, but the machinery of immigration is actually part of a larger, global system that satisfies the needs of businesses and governments, often at the expense of workers in every nation.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Harold Meyerson is the Wednesday Washington Post op-ed columnist and Editor-at-Large of The American Prospect . His is generally viewed as the most liberal voice on the Post op-ed page. Meyerson was also Columnist-at-Large for the L.A. Weekly, the nation's largest metropolitan weekly, where he served as executive editor from 1989 through 2001.

2. Nelson Lichtenstein teaches history at UCSB where he directs of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy. His latest book is Sam’s World: Wal-Mart and 21st Century Capitalism (Univ of Pennsylvania Press); his others include State of the Union: A Century of American Labor; and Walter Reuther: The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit (Basic Books).

3. Jackie Goldberg is an American politician and teacher, and a member of the Democratic Party. She is a former member of the California State Assembly and the Los Angeles City Council. Goldberg graduated from UC Berkeley where she was a member of SLATE and a major player in the Free Speech Movement. She also holds a Master's degree in Education from the University of Chicago. She served on, and was later president of, the Los Angeles School Board before which she had been a teacher in the Compton Unified School District. Goldberg has been a founding member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus and the Progressive Caucus in Sacramento.

4. Maria Aide Hernandez worked as a cashier at Auto Spa Express Car Wash in Los Angeles. She is now an organizer with the Carwash Leadership Brigade, an educational program that provides training to carwash workers, outreach to the community about carwash issues, and resources for negotiating with employers.

5. Jeffrey Kaye is a veteran journalist and author of Moving Millions: How Coyote Capitalism Fuels Global Immigration, to be published in April 2010 by John Wiley & Sons. He is a special correspondent with the PBS NewsHour, the national week nightly news program on public television and a contributor to World Report, the public affairs program of HDNet television. Between 1980 and 1984, Kaye was a reporter and senior producer at KCET-TV (PBS) in Los Angeles. Previously, he worked as a magazine writer, a freelance reporter for National Public Radio, a TV producer, and as a special correspondent for the Washington Post and other publications.