Saturday, October 23, 2010

Equality and Rights for All Workers – The Key to Organizing Unions

Organizing immigrant workers is not a matter of taking pity on the downtrodden. It requires us to understand what is necessary for the survival of our communities, of our labor movement.

by David Bacon, Monthly Review and Americas Program
October 11, 2010

When I was a union organizer, I had an experience that dramatized for me the importance of the cultural and historical traditions that immigrants from Mexico bring with them when they come to the United States, and how they affect the way people organize.

I was working for the United Electrical Workers, one of the most progressive U.S. unions. We were contacted by workers at a huge sweatshop, Cal Spas. Unhappy with low wages and abusive conditions, they began to organize a union. Then the head of the workers’ organizing committee was beaten up in the middle of the street in front of the plant. It was an obvious effort to scare the workers and make them stop organizing. [...]

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