Former lobbyist and current Congressman Brian Bilbray still has a lot of connections in the immigration lobby world. His biggest lobbying client, FAIR, was one of those immigration hawk groups, of which there are far too many to count. Of course, he still has lots of connections in the anti-immigration community. So, here's where we venture far afield from either Washington or Bilbray's North County district and into the SF Bay area, where the Chronicle catches it.
A few years back, the city of Emeryville, a small town filled with shops (IKEA) and industrial stuff right at the East Bay foot of the Bay Bridge, passed a living wage law. 3 of the 4 hotels in the city are complying, but a fourth, Woodfin Suites has been vocal in its opposition to the law. In fact, Woodfin has gone so far as to pretty much ignore the law. When labor backed East Bay Alliance for Sustainable Economy(EBASE) helped some of the employees make complaints to the city, the hotel stonewalled when asked for documents and has refused to pay assessed back wages to the employees.
But now with the city requiring Woodfin to pay the damages, the owner of the chain, a longtime GOP donor calls Brian Bilbray. Follow me over the flip on another reason why Brian Bilbray should have made CREW's list.
So, what does Brian Bilbray do with this information that the bad guys from labor are making the poor, poor hotel chain owner pay fair wages for fair labor? Well, Bilbray has federal immigration officials "audit" the Woodfin Suites employee roster. I don't know what the phrase audit means, but to me it sounds like a good ol' fashion "Show Me Your Papers!" straight out of Fascist Europe of the mid-20th Century.
And of course the funny part of this, is that the owner requested this. So, if any of the employees were actually undocumented, there's a crime on behalf of the employer, right Mr. Owner guy? But Bilbray will work on your behalf (because you gave him money) to intimidate workers. It's all in a day's work for a corrupt Congressman!
And by the way, I'm assuming the fact that we should all avoid Woodfin Suites until this issue is handled properly goes without saying. Solidarity and all.