Vivares, 29, was detained for deportation. That’s when Burgos’ union sprang into action.
Prepared for Vivares’ detention, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ gathered for a rally outside the ICE office that afternoon, demanding his release. Union leadership appealed to New York’s congressional delegation, enlisting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) to reach out to ICE leadership. The union president even disseminated the name and phone number for the ICE officer handling Vivares’ deportation and urged allies to call him directly.
“I was very lucky to have a union,” said Burgos, a 39-year-old native of the Dominican Republic who works as a doorwoman on the Upper East Side. “They moved very fast. They moved every politician and every union member. … If it were not for the union he would be deported.”