View From Lodi, CA: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Traitors!

The Lodi Chamber of Commerce`s September monthly
newsletter written by CEO Pat Patrick with its thinly
veiled attack on

Lodi Mayor Susan Hitchcock
should awaken citizens to
the fact that the Chamber does not—its insistence to
the contrary—necessarily represent what is best for


is a special interest group whose main
thrust is growth and business development. 

But Lodi is made up of more than just business owners

. I never have to travel far before a
concerned citizen stops me to say how he worried is
about sprawl and urban over-development.

Many of my colleagues at the Lodi Unified School
District and friends in the

dog park
, where passions about

direction run high, fret about our future.

The anti-Hitchcock stance taken by Patrick`s newsletter
is an alarming diatribe that focuses exclusively on why
the sitting mayor is, in his opinion, anti-growth and
bad for business. The Chamber`s endorsement of three
other City Council candidates came conveniently after it
had raked Hitchcock over the coals

close look at the

Chamber of Commerce`s
national headquarters` agenda
shows that while it purports that more development leads
to new jobs and better opportunity for locals, in
reality the Chamber is anti-American worker

According to the Chamber`s

, it endorses amnesty for illegal aliens as
well as guest worker programs that create an endless
flow of cheap labor into the U.S. thereby undercutting
the American worker`s wage structure.

Guest workers who work on the cheap are “good”
for the
businesses that hire them
but “bad” for U.S.
workers trying to find a decent job.

Here, taken from its website, is the Chamber`s 2006
political agenda.

The Chamber promises to work to:

  • Provide an
    earned pathway
    to legalization for undocumented
    workers already contributing to our economy, with
    the condition that they are law-abiding and prepared
    to embrace the obligations and values of our

  • Create a carefully monitored

    guest worker program
    to fill the growing gaps in
    America`s workforce recognizing that, in some cases,
    permanent immigrants will be needed to fill these

  • Refrain from unduly burdening employers with

    worker verification
    systems that are
    under-funded or unworkable.

The Chamber also makes a passing, and in my opinion
insincere, reference to enhancing

border security.

Note that the Chamber ignores the social consequences of
millions of illegal workers already in the U.S.,
promotes rewarding them with amnesty, and favors the
issuance of millions of more

so-called temporary visas
like the H-1B and

visas that will add to the rolls of 10 million

unemployed Americans.

The Chamber suggests, incorrectly, that workplace
enforcement of immigration laws would represent a
hardship for employers.

Through its alliance with the

Essential Worker Immigration Coalition
, the Chamber
lobbies hard for its anti-American worker programs.

The EWIC membership includes corporations like

Tyson Foods
that blatantly violate immigration law
and organizations that profit from a large presence of
illegal aliens such as the

First Data Corporation.

In another move certain to further undermine the already
weak job market for younger workers, the Chamber
promises to lobby for an extension of the foreign
temporary worker visa, the

, through 2008.

The H-2B visa is a great thing if you want to hire
foreign workers on the

. But if you are a kid hoping to land a summer
job to save for your college tuition, the H-2B visa
makes your odds for employment long.

Finally, the Chamber actively promotes

trade talks
that it hopes will result in what it
calls the free movement of people across borders. Such
“movement” translates into a low cost work force for
employers but fewer decent jobs for Americans.

Look closely at the

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
and you`ll see that it
isn`t a benign organization. The Chamber may be
committed to advancing business causes. But those
advancements come at the American worker`s expense.