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