This past month, WSLC Immigrant and Refugee Workers Rising summit and multiple other celebrations have strengthened our solidarity
By KASI MARITA PERREIRA
As Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month and Filipino American History Month come to a close, we have the opportunity to reflect on the contributions and rich histories of Latinx and Filipino workers both locally and around the world. As we continue to celebrate the power of cross-racial solidarity today and into the future, we encourage all union members in Washington state to join a local constituency group such as the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement PNW or the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance WA.
A little more about the celebrations: National Hispanic Heritage Month, also known as Latino/a/x Heritage Month happens from September 15 to October 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. is recognized at the local and federal level: the day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
The Filipino American National Historical Society just celebrated its 40th anniversary, reminding us the celebration of Filipino American History Month in October commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States, which occurred on Oct. 18, 1587, when “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed at what is now Morro Bay, Calif. In 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States.
Just last month in Washington state, we saw the power of Latinx, Filipino and workers from all backgrounds come together at “Immigrant and Refugee Workers Rising and the Future of the Labor Movement Summit” hosted by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO’s Labor and Immigration Committee at Skagit Valley College. The WSLC’s 2019 Resolution on Immigration and the Labor Movement, called on the WSLC to build programs, training, and toolkits to support immigrant workers. The summit focused on the intersections of labor rights and immigrant rights in our work to build an inclusive labor movement for all working people.
Thank you to the summit planning committee, presenters and attendees from local unions, constituency groups, community leaders and worker centers such as AFT Washington, APALA, Casa Latina, Drivers Union, Familias Unidas, Iron Workers 86, LCLAA, LIUNA, MLK Labor, OPEIU 8, Seattle Education Association, SEIU 6, SEIU 775, SEIU State Council, Starbucks Workers United, Teamsters 117, UAW 4121, UFCW 3000, WAISN, WA LERC, WFSE Interpreters United, and the WSLC Labor and Immigration Committee, chaired by union sister Connie Rodriguez.
This Summit, the first of its kind, was a wonderful success! The planning committee’s goals were to:
- Invest in leadership development of Immigrant and Refugee workers through skills, education and motivational workshops.
- Provide education about the needs and realities of immigrant union members and how the union can best support its members and future members.
- Strengthen solidarity among immigrant and refugee workers across unions and industries.
- Generate commitments from allies to take action that will strengthen solidarity among all members within our unions and labor movement.
The Summit closed with a social event that featured local workers, organizing campaigns and resource sharing which you can access here, or learn more in direct links below. We also joined in singing the worker solidarity song “Solidaridad Pa’ Siempre” led by Xolotl Edgar Franx of Familias Unidas por la Justicia. We hope to see you at our next event and in the meantime, learn more about local workers and campaigns who closed our celebration by taking action!
- From WA Drivers Union – Donate to help the family of Mohamed Kediye: https://gofund.me/251c3576
- Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Yakima Valley: https://apicyakima.org/
- Legacy of Equality Leadership and Organizing LELO Tour – firstname.lastname@example.org
- adsradio.org (community stories)
- LiUNA northwestconstructionjobs.com
- Starbucks Workers United https://sbworkersunited.org/
- Injury2All Campaign Toolkit Responsive to union advocacy, the Biden administration recently announced new immigrant worker protections that will provide important new tools to organizers and campaigns around the country. This toolkit equips unions and organizers with everything they need to protect immigrant workers and bring new energy and momentum to their campaigns.
- Organizing and Bargaining for Racial Justice, Immigrant Justice, and Equity in the Workplace
- Immigration: Know Your Rights
- Welcoming and Empowering Multiple Immigrant and Refugee Communities in Our Unions
- Turning an Issue on the Job Into a Campaign
Kasi Marita Perreira is the Director of Racial and Gender Justice for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She can be contacted at email@example.com. This column was originally published by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington.