Healthcare Workers Union Declares Itself a Sanctuary

By Dan Cadman on April 17, 2017

The National Union of Healthcare Workers, based in California (where else?), has declared itself a sanctuary.

As an article in the Daily Caller notes, Porfirio Quintano of the NUHW executive board — and himself previously an illegal alien, which he states proudly, made the announcement in an editorial published in various labor union-oriented magazines and websites:

[W]e emerged with a consensus that we would declare ourselves a "sanctuary union" and that protecting our members from Trump's deportation dragnet would be as high a priority as defending them from management retaliation.

What, exactly, does that mean? I'm not sure anyone knows. Just how far is the union willing to go before it risks being accused of official collusion in policies that have the effect of harboring and shielding aliens unlawfully in the country, which, as I have point out constantly, is a federal felony?

But there are other reasons to be deeply concerned by the statement. Labor unions hold a privileged position under the employer verification laws embedded in immigration statute. Section 274A(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act says that if workers who are part of a collective bargaining unit (such as the NUHW) shift from one employer to another — for instance, another hospital or care clinic — that itself is part of an association of healthcare employers (such as the American Health Care Association or others like it) then, unlike most employees, they don't need to have their right to work re-verified.

The problem is obvious: If a union has declared itself a sanctuary, is it willing to mask an illegal alien member's unauthorized work status to help him or her get a job in the first place, and then to continue working even if he or she shifts jobs? How about simple blindness-by-choice, even in the face of obviously altered or counterfeit documents of the kind so readily available in communities throughout the United States?

It seems to me that the employer healthcare associations need to revisit their collective bargaining agreements with NUHW in light of its pronouncement, because if fines or other penalties are levied, it will be against the employers.

Perhaps more important, it also seems to me that it would be within the scope of authority for the Department of Homeland Security to issue regulations indicating that when unions declare themselves sanctuaries, employers may not rely on the collective bargaining agreement as evidence of good faith compliance with the employment verification requirements of the law.