Statement of Solidarity with Immigrant Workers Arrested in Ohio
We, the Graduate Employees Organization at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO stand in solidarity with our fellow workers of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), in the wake of an ICE raid on four Fresh Mark plants in Ohio that resulted in the arrest of 146 workers.
On Tuesday, June 19th, over 100 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents descended upon the facilities and collected documents from over 200 workers, in what constitutes the largest worksite raid in over a decade. This raid comes just two weeks after another raid took place at an Ohio gardening company, also constituting one of the largest raids in the state. These are calculated raids meant to traumatize and instill fear in immigrant communities in Ohio and the nation as a whole.
In a statement following the Fresh Mark raid, RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum said, “Our union is a union of hard working people, which includes immigrants; and we stand with all immigrant workers, who are trying to support their families and better their lives. Our union will not stand for violence against immigrants; we will not stand for tearing families apart and we will not stand for the terrifying tactics of the Trump Administration.” Similarly, UFCW President Marc Perrone stated, “Tearing hard-working men and women apart from their children, families, and communities is wrong.”
The GEO condemns ICE and all immigration policies that prevent anyone from seeking a better life for themself and their family. We stand in solidarity with immigrants and workers of all nationalities, and we mourn for our fellow workers and their families who have been affected by this cruel action.