Labourers' International Union of North America Local 183

January 10, 2008 13:30 ET

Labourers' Union Says "Media Report on Undocumented Construction Workers Completely False."

"I would go to jail rather than report any worker," says Local 183 head.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 10, 2008) - Local 183 of the Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) responded strongly to a Wednesday article in the Toronto Sun that accused union staff of checking on undocumented workers at Local 183 job sites and sending them home.

"The Toronto Sun article was completely false," said Local 183 Business Manager Durval Terceira and Secretary Treasurer Daniel Avero. "There is no way it is true."

"This union has never in its history reported any undocumented worker to any authority. We never would. If the federal government made a law requiring us to report undocumented workers, we would go to jail rather than do so."

"These workers are the victims of a dysfunctional immigration system that must be fixed now. Their work is essential to Ontario's economy but they live in fear of losing their jobs and being deported."

Terceira and Avero said that Local 183 has provided hundreds of letters of support for undocumented workers seeking landed immigrant status and would continue to do so.

"I myself was an undocumented worker when I came to Canada at age 18 as a refugee from Portugal," says Terceira. "I succeeded in becoming a landed immigrant and was helped by a support letter from Local 183. I will do the same - and more - for my fellow immigrants and so will every other officer and staff member. We are a union of immigrants and a Union that has been led by immigrants since it was formed in the early 50's"

Terceira and Avero (a refugee from Uruguay, South America), won the top positions at Local 183 last September in a landslide vote following the ouster of the former administration of Antonio Dionisio for mismanagement. Since then, a number of major reforms have been put in place by the new administration to address the concerns of the undocumented population.

"We have extended medical, health and life insurance benefits to undocumented workers and their families who belong to our union," says Avero. "They do not have to be afraid to take their kids to the hospital, dentist or doctor or to get them prescription drugs. Local 183 is taking care of them in a way that no other organization or entity in the country is doing. The government is not protecting these workers and their families, we are."

"Our union will cooperate with any government effort to fix the many problems with the current immigration system but we will never betray any member's status in Canada. It simply won't happen. We would rather go to jail."

Contact Information

  • Labourers' International Union of North America Local 183
    Durval Terceira (English or Portuguese)
    (416) 241-1183
    Labourers' International Union of North America Local 183
    Daniel Avero (English or Spanish)
    (416) 241-1183