Carpenters urge Smyrna to drop charges against six Mexicans
Mary Lou Pickel - Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Wednesday, August 9, 2000
It's time for Smyrna to drop charges against six Mexican bricklayers arrested last month after they worked one hour past the city's 6 p.m. construction curfew, members of a construction union said Tuesday night.
"Drop the charges. Drop the charges," about 35 union members chanted outside Smyrna City Hall.
The rally in support of the workers, who were not present, was organized by the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council.
"I was surprised to see these guys were arrested for working late," said Francisco Morales, a carpenter and union representative who moved from Mexico 15 years ago. "We came to the United States to work, and work hard. Bricklayers, they don't make much noise," he said.
"The guys probably didn't understand what the police said."
The six bricklayers were arrested in June for violating a city noise ordinance that prohibits building construction and repair after 6 p.m.
The arrest ticket shows they were arrested about 7:07 p.m. They are scheduled to go to trial in September.
About 400 of the 2,000 members of the local carpenters union are Hispanic, Morales said. Six union organizers have decided to reach into their own pockets and reimburse the bricklayers for the $175 bail they posted, union organizer Javier Lamas said.
"There's no more honest occupation than bricklayer," said Bob Yeggy, the union's national director of organizing, who spoke at the rally. "They got arrested and handcuffed because they are Hispanics in Smyrna." ________________________
"Only the poor break laws; the rich evade them."
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