The recent assaults on public sector unions are also an attack on Latinos and other minorities that these unions represent.
For many years now, public sector jobs have held some of the best positions for Latino workers. And public sector unions give Latinos and all their other members a voice at the table.
Critics argue that there is no inherent right for public sector workers to be protected by collective bargaining, but the Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells it out in Article 23, Section 4: "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." That right is not limited to the private sector.
And the truth is: We must fight for our rights. The civil rights era of the 1950s and 1960s proved that. Cesar Chavez, the most widely recognized Latino figure from that period and an indomitable force in union organizing, should serve as an example to us all. He knew not to back down.
And public workers shouldn't back down today. Republicans are trying to break down the strongest unions left -- those in the public sector. If they succeed, all workers will be at a disadvantage.
Fortunately, a majority of the American public supports public sector workers, according to separate polls by USA Today/Gallup and The New York Times/CBS.
The only way to fight the anti-union onslaught is with continued demonstrations across racial and occupational barriers. Members of the Latino community must show solidarity with their fellow workers. For this is an attack on all of us.
We know how to fight for immigrant rights. And we know how to fight for workers' rights. Now is the time.
Jose Miguel Leyva is a freelance writer and novelist living in El Paso, Texas. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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