Carmen Castillo is a UNITE HERE union steward, immigrant and 19-year veteran hotel housekeeper. In November 2011, the single mother of three from the Dominican Republic won election to the Providence, R.I., City Council. Since then filmmaker Margo Guernsey and her crew have been following Castillo at home, work, on the council and in the community.
Taking their cues from the young immigrant students, known as the Dreamers, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE, the restaurant and hotel workers union, want to encourage more young students to share their stories of immigration—either their own or somebody else’s—with the country, especially with national lawmakers who may vote on an immigration reform bill as soon as later this year. The two labor organizations are sponsoring a student short film contest called “Cortos y Fuertes / Short and Strong.” The author of the best overall video will receive $2,000.
Today is the 102nd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York's Greenwich Village. This tragedy took the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers. Most were trapped and died behind the building’s locked doors and others plunged to their deaths as they jumped from windows from the eighth floor and above.
It also galvanized a movement to raise workplace safety standards and enact other labor law reforms.
On Wednesday, top leaders of Brazil's largest trade union federation, Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), including President Vagner Freitas, João Felicio and Artur Henrique, met with U.S. union leaders at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategies for joint action, priorities and partnerships moving forward.
On Wednesday night, members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 will engage in the first act of civil disobedience on the Las Vegas strip by union members in more than 20 years in solidarity with workers from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino. The workers have been negotiating a contract with the casino owner, Deutsche Bank, for more than two years and they contend that the owner refuses to agree on measures that are standard in other major casino contracts on the strip. Workers plan to engage in action by blocking traffic. Contracts for workers on the Strip will expire June 1.
More than 800 union members, their families, immigration advocates and community leaders rallied in front of the Arizona state Capitol yesterday to reaffirm their support for commonsense immigration reform that protects immigrants and America's workers. In a press conference before the rally, Arizona AFL-CIO Executive Director Rebekah Friend announced that the organization had adopted a resolution that calls on Congress to pass immigration reform, including a practical and inclusive road map to citizenship that reflects core American values such as fairness, equality and family unity.
The Real Food, Real Jobs movement is going strong and supporters have a lot to celebrate. After a successful march and rally on U Street on March 1 in Washington, D.C., Howard University workers won a new contract with food service provider Sodexo on March 7. Members of UNITE HERE Local 23, Howard dining service workers will see an improvement in their working conditions, as well as an increase input to sustainability efforts on behalf of the university. Furthermore, the contract that was overwhelmingly approved has won workers the right to a sustainability oversight committee and access to more worker training.