Thesis

Latinas in the labor union of Los Angeles

I explore the experiences of two Latinas who have been active for over 40 years in Los Angeles labor unions from the 1970s to the present day. My study is based on in depth interviews and primary documents. Through in depth interviews, I found that their immigration stories and early life in the United States in the 1970s continue to influence the way they have worked with the labor union's leadership and rank and file members. The interviews focused on the women's immigration stories and their union activism. The interviews also show how experiences as immigrants and mothers have shaped them as people with multi-dimensional lives, not just as workers, union members or mothers. Understanding Latinas as people with particular and varied histories and experiences is a step into creating a labor movement that speaks to the different aspects of worker's rights. This thesis adds to the existing voices of working class Latinas who share their stories of migration and activism, using a Chicana feminist lens. This thesis also adds to the literature on labor unions, highlighting the experiences of the rank and file women members.

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