WSLC backs shutdown of detention center

State’s largest labor organization seeks closure of Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma


TACOMA (July 14, 2020) — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO issued the following statement Tuesday in support of shutting down the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, the only privately operated prison in Washington state, which has a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants:

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO formally endorses the Shut Down the Northwest Detention Center campaign organized by La Resistencia. As the largest labor organization in Washington state, representing the interests of more than 600 union organizations with some 550,000 rank-and-file members, the WSLC’s endorsement of this campaign is consistent with its longstanding support for immigrant workers’ rights and opposition to private prisons in Washington state.

The Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma is operated by the for-profit GEO Group under contract with the federal government’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is the only private prison in Washington state. Detainees and human-rights advocates have consistently complained about the unsafe and unhealthy conditions at the facility, and employees there have complained of low wages and lack of training.

Washington is home to more than one million immigrants who are an essential part of our workforce, our industries, and our communities. The WSLC believes that the very existence of this for-profit prison incentivizes the raids, harassment and terrorizing of immigrant workers and their families in Washington state.

Therefore, we endorse the Shut Down the NWDC campaign and urge other unions and community organizations to do the same.

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