On April 28, New York State Attorney General and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer decided to let the whole world knows how he feels about illegal immigrants. He issued a statement of support on the eve of the nationwide May 1 strike by illegal immigrant workers and threatened to prosecute any employers who fired an employee who skipped work that day.
Note Spitzer’s Orwellian language:
“This Office has received inquiries about the legal obligations of employers to accommodate employees’ requests to take time off to participate in activities scheduled for May1 recognizing the contributions of working immigrants to the national economy and local communities. Some businesses will be closing for the demonstrations, while others will remain open.”
The employees were striking for the day. They weren’t making “requests” any more than a mugger does.
Spitzer’s weasely language reminds me of the time, back in 1995, when I was researching my first major article on violent crime in New York and came across a crime blotter story in a Brooklyn newspaper about a guy who was arrested for robbery. The entry said that the suspect had “requested” that the alleged victim hand over his money to him. I thought to myself, “That’s not a robbery; he handed over his money voluntarily!”
Only later did I realize the source of the confusion. The mugger hadn’t “requested” anything; muggers don’t make requests, they issue orders. In the past 30 or so years, however, journalism has been taken over by mealy-mouthed, forked-tongued propagandists whom you couldn’t trust to give you the correct time of day. And so, out of a solicitude that sought not to cast a violent criminal in a harsh light, the newspaper so misrepresented a violent crime as to turn it into a non-crime.
Similarly, Spitzer not only turned a racist strike that attacked the foundations of American law and culture into a picnic, but through his threats against employers, gave the strike state sanction.
The following paragraph is a bald-faced lie:
“Federal labor law protects every employee’s right to engage in concerted activities for ‘mutual aid and protection,’ including calling for change in existing laws to improve working conditions. The courts have held that participation by employees in demonstrations and rallies like those planned for May 1 are protected activities under that provision.”
Shame on AG Spitzer for demagoguing, lying about the law, abusing the powers of his office, and violating employers’ legal right to fire workers who refused to show up for their regular shifts on May 1. The law in question was enacted to protect legal workers, not illegal immigrants. And the law did not give workers the right to skip work.
Even those workers who are legal, i.e., who are lawful permanent resident aliens (green card holders) or American citizens have no right to skip work to attend political demonstrations. Private employers may legally terminate any employee who skips work to attend a political demonstration, even if it is in support of unionization or labor-friendly laws. But of course, the demonstrations were a one-day strike and had nothing to do with forming unions. In any event, illegal workers have no standing to engage in any of the activities protected by the law Spitzer cites.
Note how Spitzer contradicts himself in the following paragraph:
“Employers may impose reasonable requirements needed to keep their businesses functioning, and employees must comply with those requirements. However, if adverse action, including discharge, is taken against employees solely because of their participation in these activities, the employer may be found to have violated the rights of those employees and could be subject to legal action.”
The second sentence contradicts the first. If an employee skips work to attend a strike demonstration, and his employer fires him, of course the latter fired the former “solely because of [his] participation in these activities.” But the employer will not have broken any law, except in Spitzer’s world of fantasy law. Unfortunately, we who live in the real world are increasingly the prisoners of political fantasists.
If Spitzer were right, the employees would be the bosses. Or rather, “immigrant” employees would be.
Since when can you refuse to show up for your shift at work? If you’re an illegal alien, that’s when. They can spit on the law, but the rest of us suckers must bear the full brunt of the law, enforced without mercy, should we so much as jaywalk. Spitzer not only has contempt for the rights of employers, but he crushes under foot the 14th Amendment’s guarantee to citizens of equality under the law, as well as all civil rights, which are the rights due to citizens. He is in the business of disenfranchising American citizens and transferring their rights and privileges to foreign invaders.
Since in misrepresenting illegal immigrants as “immigrants,” Spitzer even lies about his topic, as if he were talking about lawful permanent resident aliens or even naturalized citizens, the self-righteous AG is telling lies within lies. As an officer of the court, Spitzer should be disbarred for such misconduct.
Has the phrase “honest prosecutor” become an oxymoron?
Spitzer has turned the law on its head. His statement closes, “Employers and employees are urged to cooperate to avoid violations of law.” The entire point of his statement was to support criminality and threaten to prosecute employers who exercise their legal prerogatives so that he might gain the votes of illegal immigrants engaging in voter fraud and of those voters who support illegals. In Spitzer’s world, and the world of those voters whom he courts, the criminals are the good guys, and those who act within the law are the criminals.
Although I cannot support Spitzer’s criminal abuse of the law, there is a certain poetic justice to his breaking the law on behalf of criminals, who were themselves hired by criminal-employers. In hiring illegal immigrants, employers made a deal with the Devil; Eliot Spitzer has come to enforce the contract.