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.