Unions and the Unionization of Latinas/os in the United States
This chapter will focus on the participation of Latina/o workers in past and contemporary labor struggles and the role that Latina/o workers can, should, and are likely to play in the labor movement in the 21st century. The emphasis, because it is the emphasis in the literature, will be on Mexican workers in the West and Southwest and, to a lesser degree, Puerto Rican workers on the East Coast. However, one of the aims of this chapter is to call attention to other Latina/o groups in the labor movement and to underscore the need for future research on these groups and other regions of the country, including the South, long a part of the country with very low levels of unionization. This chapter will provide a review of important labor campaigns in which Latina/o workers, often immigrant workers, played a critical role. Latina/o workers’ militancy revealed in this review belies stereotypes of the passive Latina/o and calls into question the claim by some in the labor movement that these workers were (and are) “unorganizable.” The chapter also offers contemporary evidence of Latina/o workers’ receptivity to unionization and the benefits of unionization for workers, including Latina/o workers, the group likely to benefit the most from a revitalized labor movement. Organized labor’s woes are discussed, as is its future and the future of Latina/o workers. Finally, this chapter prescribes what organized labor needs to do to organize Latina/o workers, including recognizing the heterogeneity of this population and the implications of this heterogeneity for organization, and what scholars can do to enhance our understanding of the evolving relationship between organized labor and Latinas/os.
KeywordsAgricultural Worker Labor Movement Immigrant Worker Black Worker Work Stoppage
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Acuña, Rodolfo. (1988). Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
- Bonacich, Edna, & Appelbaum, Richard. (2000). Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, Kate. (2001, September 3). Changing to Organize. The Nation. Retrieved October 15, 2006, from http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010903/bronfenbrenner.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2006a). Union Membership (Annual). Retrieved October 15, 2006, from http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/union2.toc.htm.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2006b). Work Stoppages Involving 1, 000 or More Workers, 1947–2005. Retrieved October 15, 2006, from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/wkstp.t01.htm.
- Carpenters Union Organizes Hispanic Workers. (1999, July 15). Seattle Daily Journal, pp.? Retrieved October 14, 2006, from http://www.djc.com/news/const/10055761.html.
- Clawson, Dan. (2003). The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Daniel, Cletus E. (1981). Bitter Harvest: A History of California Farmworkers, 1870–1941. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Delgado, Hector L. (1993). New Immigrants, Old Unions: Organizing Undocumented Workers in Los Angeles. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Delgado, Hector L. (2000). The Los Angeles Manufacturing Action Project: An Opportunity Squandered? In Ruth Milkman (Ed.), Organizing Immigrants: The Challenge for Unions in Contemporary California (pp. 225–238). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Figueroa, Hector. (1996, November/December). Puerto Rican Workers: A Profile. (NACLA Report on the Americas). New York: NACLA.Google Scholar
- Fink, Leon, & Dunn, Alvis. (2000). The Maya of Morganton: Exploring Worker Identity. In James Loucky & Marilyn M. Moors (Eds.), The Maya Diaspora: Guatemalan Roots, New American Lives (pp. 175–196). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Foner, Philip S. (1964). History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. III. The Policies and Practices of the Mexican Federation of Labor, 1900–1909. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
- Foner, Philip S. (1982). History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. VI. On the Eve of America’s Entrance into World War I, 1915–1916. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
- Fullerton, Howard N., Jr., & Toosi, Mitra. (2001, November). Labor Force Projections to 2010: Steady Growth and Changing Composition. Monthly Review Press, 124, 21–38.Google Scholar
- Galarza, Ernesto. (1964). Merchants of Labor: The Mexican Bracero Story. San Jose, CA: Rosicrucian Press.Google Scholar
- Gómez-Quiñones, Juan. (1973). The First Steps: Chicano Labor Conflict and Organizing 1900–1920. Aztlan, 3(1), 13–49.Google Scholar
- Gómez-Quiñones, Juan. (1994). Mexican American Labor: 1790–1990. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
- González, Gilbert G. (1999). Mexican Consuls and Labor Organizing: Imperial Politics in the American Southwest. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- Jamieson, Stuart. (1976). Labor Unionism in American Agriculture. New York: Arno Press.Google Scholar
- Kluger, James R. (1970). The Clifton-Morenci Strike: Labor Difficulty in Arizona, 1915–1916. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
- Lichtenstein, Nelson. (2002). State of the Union: A Century of American Labor. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Lopez, Ronald W. (1970). El Monte Berry Strike of 1933. Aztlan, 1(1), 101–114.Google Scholar
- Maciel, David. (1981). Luchas Laborales y Conflictos de Clase de los Trabajadores Mexicanos en los Estados Unidos, 1900–1930. In Juan Gómez-Quiñones & David Maciel (Eds.), La Clase Obrera en la Historia de México: Al Norte del Río Bravo (pasado lejano) (1600–1930) (pp. 89–217). México, D.F.: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.Google Scholar
- McWilliams, Carey. (1968). North from Mexico: The Spanish-speaking People of the United Sates. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Mexicans in California. (1930, October). Report of Governor C.C. Young’s Mexican Fact-Finding Committee, San Francisco.Google Scholar
- Milkman, Ruth. (2006). L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Mishel, Lawrence, & Walters, Matthew. (2003, August). How Unions Help All Workers (Briefing Paper 143). Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved October 7, 2006, from http://www.epi.org.
- Ocasio, Linda. (1996, November/December). Portrait of an Organizer: Edgar de Jesus. NACLA Report on the Americas, 30(3). Retrieved May 29. 2006, from http:www.nacla.org/art_display_printable.php?art=1805.
- Ortiz, Altagracia. (1990). Puerto Rican Workers in the Garment Industry of New York City, 1920–1960. In Robert Asher & Charles Stephenson (Eds.), Labor Divided: Race and Ethnicity in United States Labor Struggles 1835–1960 (pp. 105–125). Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Pesotta, Rose. (1944). Bread Upon the Waters. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.Google Scholar
- Pew Hispanic Center. (2006, May 2). Hispanics Gaining Jobs But Suffering Worse Wage Losses in U.S. Labor Force. (Press release). Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Portes, Alejandro, & Stepick, Alex. (1993). City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Reddy, Raahi. (2005, Winter). Labor Pains. Colorlines Magazine: Race, Action, Culture. Retrieved October 8, 2006, from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KAY/is 48/ai_n1596941.
- Ruiz, Vicki L. (1998). From out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sánchez Korrol, Virginia E. (1983). From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1917–1948. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Trumpbour, John, & Bernard, Elaine. (2002). Unions and Latinos: Mutual.Google Scholar
- Transformation. In Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco & Mariela M. Paez (Eds.), Latinos: Remaking America (pp. 126–145). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Vega, Barnardo. (1984). Memoirs of Bernardo Vega: A Contribution to the History of the Puerto Rican Community in New York. (Edited by César Andreu Iglesias). New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
- Wells, Miriam J. (2000). Immigration and Unionization in the San Francisco Hotel Industry. In Ruth Milkman (Ed.), Organizing Immigrants: The Challenge for Unions in Contemporary California (pp. 109–129). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar