Journalists are fixated on union members' donations to the Los Angeles mayoral race to elect Wendy Greuel, Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, writes in a Los Angeles Times column. But one issue is being largely ignored: the working poor.
"But if the discussion about the role of unions in the campaign is going to focus almost exclusively on money, shouldn't we talk about money in its entirety?" writes Durazo. "What motivates me and so many others in L.A. labor when it comes to money are the hundreds of thousands of our fellow workers in Los Angeles who don't earn enough of it."
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.
Today, labor is one of the key forces pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the movement's advocacy and more about how unions transformed themselves into outspoken champions of immigrant rights, I spoke with Maria Elena Durazo. A daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Durazo rose to become the leader of the hotel and restaurant workers union in Los Angeles, the dynamic UNITE HERE Local 11. And, as chair of the national AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee, Durazo is now a leading point person in the national immigration debate.
By the end of 2013, Latinos will make up 40% of California's population. By the end of 2050, that number will rise to 48%. The growing Latino and immigrant communities in California are changing the way Californians view immigration reform, New York Times' Jennifer Medina writes. In a state where, a generation ago, voters passed what is considered one of the most anti-immigrant ballot initiatives, recent polls show a dramatic shift in perception of aspiring Americans. Californians now say that "immigrants are a benefit to the state, according to public opinion polls from the Public Policy Institute of California."
Christian Torres worked as a cook in the Pomona College dining hall for more than six years. Torres and 16 of his co-workers were fired from Pomona College for not re-verifying their work eligibility after the college asked for documents, which were requested while he was leading an effort to organize to form a union. Torres and his brother came to the United States while still teenagers to join their mother and father who were already in the U.S. He supports the movement to create a common-sense immigration process. Although Torres was fired from Pomona, he continues to support his co-workers in their struggle for better working conditions at the college.
Working people are applauding the Los Angeles County Metro Board of Directors vote last week in favor of a sweeping, agency-wide program that will create 260,000 construction jobs. Officials said the program will dramatically increase the number of workers hired from communities near upcoming transit projects and special attention will be given to applicants who live in areas of high unemployment.
After six months without a contract, the employees and management at three California supermarket chains reached a tentative agreement today. The agreement came just hours after a deadline set by the employees to strike if no progress had been made in contract talks.
Nearly 20,000 working people marched through downtown Los Angeles Saturday, making it clear they will fight any attempt to launch a Wisconsin-like attack on workers in cash-strapped California. The march stretched for several blocks and included nurses, telephone technicians, electricians, truckers, screenwriters, actors, longshoremen, teachers and others. This is the largest action by Los Angeles workers in recent history.