At the bottom of Linda Chavez's regular column in Jewish World Review is the statement that
"Linda Chavez serves on the board of directors of ABM Industries, Inc., a publicly held company. "
I wondered why Jewish World Review chose to mention that. I usually think of her as President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Probably one of those stupid "full disclosure" things, I thought. (Full disclosure: I don't do full disclosure.)
What is ABM Industries? I asked myself. It turns out that it's a major national janitorial firm.
The word "janitorial" made me raise my eyebrows. Janitorial firms are a major employer of what we at VDARE.COM refer to as "Cheap labor." Lawyer Howard Foster of Johnson and Bell is suing janitorial firms that hire illegals in a class action suit on behalf of honest firms that don't.
Now, I have no evidence that ABM Industries employs illegal immigrants. On the contrary, they've been investigated by the Clinton Justice department for checking too closely to make sure they didn't. (On the peculiar legal theory – you can't make this stuff up - that it's an "Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practice" to ask a foreigner applying for work to prove that he's in the country legally.)
In 1995, Administrative Law Judge Marvin H. Morse wrote [PDF, and very dull, too] that
OSC [Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Discrimination] contends that Forms I-9 obtained from ABM's San Francisco office "evidence that 90% of non-U.S. citizens who completed the I-9 forms [from July 29, 1991 to August 28, 1994] produced INS-issued documents." OSC claims also that Petitioner's I-9 forms for all employees hired in the Washington metropolitan area from January, 1992 through approximately August, 1994 demonstrate that of 700 aliens hired, all 700, 100%, showed INS-issued documents (sometimes in addition to other I-9 documents), while the 79 U.S. citizens hired showed various documents from columns B and C of the I-9 form.
Translation: ABM was asking non-citizens for green cards. That's considered evidence of discrimination.
Accordingly, we can assume that a company like ABM is innocent of deliberately hiring illegals. But of course, I would have said the same of a company like Tyson Industries before they got busted.
Nevertheless, that fact remains that the janitorial industry is highly-competitive, price-driven business. Labor costs make up 80 per cent of its overhead.
"People see us as a janitorial service, but we're really more like labor brokers," said Ken Edge, janitorial division executive vice president.
"ABM: The largest company you've never heard of," Douglas Robson San Francisco Business Times December 5, 1997
ABM's annual report complains of lower profits due to increased labor costs.
Immigration, illegal or legal, lowers labor costs.
So it's, well, interesting to note that since 1997, she's been director of a company that depends on a steady supply of cheap labor for its existence.
It adds a certain, well, something to our understanding of Chavez lines like
"Make no mistake: U.S. employers in many industries are desperate for Mexican and other foreign labor."
— Linda Chavez, "Those immigrants," syndicated column, Feb 22 2001
"That's unfortunate, not least because a guest worker program that made it possible for Mexicans to come here legally to work in construction or in service jobs would mean fewer crossing the border illegally."
— Linda Chavez, Don't Seal the Borders — Keeping workers out won't make us safer. OpinionJournal, November 21, 2001
Maybe there is something in this "full disclosure" thing after all.
August 28, 2002