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View From Lodi, CA: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Traitors!
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September 29, 2006, 05:00 AM
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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 Lodi.

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

But Lodi is made up of more than just business owners and developers. 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 Lodi`s 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

A 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 website, 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 society.

  • 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 gaps.

  • 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 SKIL 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 H-2B, through 2008.

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