Julie Winokur and Tim Raphael look to return to the honest and powerful storytelling that our country was built upon with their platform, The Newest Americans. This means amplifying the voices and stories of immigrant communities that make up so much of American identity. With a nuance and precision aimed to cut through the deafening noise of the current media landscape, The Newest Americans, offers a fresh perspective on powerful storytelling with the goal of social change.
Abby Lawlor is a strategic researcher at Unite Here Local 8 in Seattle, which represents about 5,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Oregon and Washington State. The organization, mostly consisting of women workers, boasts a diverse membership and includes workers from many immigrant communities. In the interview below, Lawlor details Local 8's #MeToo campaign, which has fought against sexual harassment and assault in hotel industry since 2016.
The Fair Food Program (FFP) is worker-driven social responsibility program that aims to combat the exploitative conditions faced by farmworkers in several states. This post aims to provide background to the development of the FFP as well as a summary of its many facets. It also includes a link to a full report by the Fair Food Standards Council.
In a decision handed down by the Albany Supreme Court on Jan 3rd, 2018, a 2016 lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Crispin Hernandez was dismissed. The decision upheld a provision in the New York State Employment Relations Act (SERA) that exempts agricultural workers from the right to organize and collectively bargain. This post will serve as a review of the history and the implications of this decision.
Catherine Crowe is an organizer and communications representative for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). In this interview, she details the campaign against the North Carolina Farm Act of 2017, which aimed to illegalize crucial union functions. In addition to discussing the details and implications of the law, she also discusses some of the goals of the union moving forward.
Edgar Franks is an organizer with the social justice organization Community to Community Development (C2C), from Bellingham, Washington. In this interview, he provides an overview of goals in advocating for the equitable treatment of farm workers as well as for a radical change in how we view our agricultural and food production systems.
Eduardo Rosario is the New York City Chapter President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, he also works as an administrative coordinator for The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (ASCME) local 375 and DC 37. In the interview below he details the relief efforts orchestrated by NYC unions in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He elaborates on the unique space that the labor movement occupies in society, which allows the movement to position itself as a catalyst for larger efforts of social justice and community solidarity beyond the workplace.
Romin Khan works for the German service workers union, ver.di, responsible for migration policy. In this interview, researcher Neva Low asks Romin about union attitudes and strategy in the face of anti-immigrant right-wing populism.
Jakob Mathiassen of the Copenhagen construction trade union 3F-BJMF summarizes the challenges and obstacles that European unions are facing organizing across national and cultural borders. Here we offer a brief introduction with a link to a summary of the report.
Mayor Svante Myrick, who has been in office since 2012 and attended Cornell University as an undergraduate student, led Ithaca in its Sanctuary City movement, and has continued to enforce and uphold this sanctuary status as the city fights against policies of the current Federal Administration. His collaboration with local organizations, along with his recent feature in Time Magazine on millennial politicians, demonstrate Mayor Myrick's dedication to Ithaca and his ability to inspire and relate to a generation that is on the frontlines of political action.
The Transatlantic Social Dialogue brought together practitioners and academics from Europe and the U.S. to discuss the rise of right-wing populism. Unions and nontraditional labor organizations play an essential role in resisting right-wing populism and building progressive coalitions to articulate a more inclusive and powerful vision for the working-class.
Michelle Zhao, an undergraduate in the ILR School, shares an account of student and community mobilization efforts protesting the Trump administration’s decision to terminate Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Guest worker visas and undocumented workers are often prevalent in many farming areas in the U.S., so we decided to speak with Carlos Gutierrez from the Leadership Team at the Tompkins County Workers Center to see what he had to say about these precarious workers and their health and safety.
The Hidden Migrant Workforce: Comparing the Canadian and U.S. Temporary Foreign Worker Visa Programs
With increased confusion surrounding guest worker visas, and recent changes in visa numbers under the Trump Administration, the Cornell Law School decided to host a colloquium to discuss the current state of Temporary Foreign Worker Visa program in both the U.S. and Canada. These meeting brough together academics and advocates to address this topic and discuss strategies for moving forward.
Cathleen Caron is the executive director of Justice in Motion, a non-profit that focuses on migrant rights in the U.S. and follows them to their country of origin if they are deported. Their defender network spans parts of Mexico and other countries in Central America.
Created by the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), this toolkit is intended to help advocates and communities prepare to fight against ICE raids during the Trump Administration.
An interview with Chaumtoli Huq, the founder of Law at the Margins. Drawing on decades of experience as a lawyer and community organizer, Huq shares valuable insights on how workers and students can resist xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism.
Lowell Turner, professor of International and Comparative Labor at the ILR School, shares his insights on the momentous French election that saw both the defeat of the far-right National Front (FN) and the further normalization of xenophobic, racist and anti-democratic fringe of French politics. Turner examines how the far-right opportunistically manipulated popular anger over economic inequality and fanned the flames of Islamophobia to drive a deep polarization of French society.
Zahra Billoo is an American Muslim woman who is both a community organizer and a civil rights lawyer. She is the executive director for the San Francisco Bay Area branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Mark Bergfeld is based at Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management, specializing in research on immigration and labor unions and the comparative study of immigrant worker organization and the relationship to trade unions in Britain, Germany and the US. In this piece, Mark discusses Islamophobia and the labor market.
An interview with both the narrator, Rigo Valdez, and director, Valerie Lapin Ganley of “The Long Ride,” a documentary about the 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, which was recently screened in Ithaca as part of Union Days 2017 and will soon be screened in NYC.
The author of this guest post, Daniel Carrillo, is Executive Director of Enlace, a cross-border, multiracial coalition of low-wage worker centers, unions and community organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. They discuss the launch of Freedom Cities and tactics used by members of the New York Worker Center Federation to fight back against Trump's racist and anti-immigrant policies.
Mijente recently released “Expanding Sanctuary: What Makes a City a Sanctuary Now,” a report on the history and current status of sanctuary cities - and what steps could be taken to expand the concept of sanctuary beyond the status quo. The important resource includes specific policy priorities and recommendations for establishing and expanding sanctuary.
Tompkins County, home to Cornell University, has passed a bipartisan resolution making it a sanctuary county. While the resolution is significant, some advocates are questioning the effectiveness of sanctuary city policies in towns that adopt a "broken windows" approach to policing.
The overwhelming growth of sanctuary cities today is promising, but the term “sanctuary” can be varied and misleading. This article looks at the history of sanctuary cities along with specific city policies in order to understand their effectiveness today.
Ready to Resist: Remarks from Christina Jimenez, Co-Founder and Executive Director of United We Dream
Why is Immigration and Customs Enforcement is engaging in increased home raids and deportations? Wondering what you can do as an ally? Christina Jimenez of United We Dream shares her perspectives on the escalation of enforcement and proposals for resistance.
This interview with Cornell student Miguel Martinez describes the actions and objectives of the Cornell University DREAM Team and its advocacy efforts on behalf of undocumented students. Miguel discusses some of the DREAM Team’s efforts, including an ally training program to expand awareness and promote understanding about undocumented students on campus.
We need widespread resistance to anti-immigrant actions and policies, whether on the part of xenophobic organizations, misguided individuals or government. There are lessons to learn from earlier periods, including a Vietnam War era movement of resistance that both organized against the war and defended young men who would not serve.
In the wake of the presidential election, immigrant communities have been thrust into a state of fear and uncertainty over what is to come in a new Trump administration. Shannon Gleeson, Associate Professor of Labor Relations, Law and History, shares her perspectives on the need for solidarity in response to these attacks.
Faced with the election of Trump after a campaign fueled by xenophobia and racism, many unions and worker organizations are pledging to defend immigrant workers against mass deportations. Here's a look at the ways in which unions and worker organizations are responding.
Susan Coutin is a professor of Criminology, Law and Society and Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Her most recent books Exiled Home: Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence and Nations Of Emigrants: Shifting Boundaries Of Citizenship In El Salvador And The United States explore legal and sociocultural issues faced by immigrants and refugees from El Salvador.
Following a presidential election marked by anti-immigrant rhetoric, undocumented students are facing an increased threat of mass deportation. Activists across the country are responding by calling on universities to do more to protect undocumented students by becoming "sanctuary campuses".
This new report, co-edited by ILR's Francine Blau and Christopher Markie, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reveals that immigration has many positive effects, with little to no negative effects on wages or jobs of native-born workers.
Understanding the unprecedented current era of mass deportation requires a look back at the origins and development of deportation policy in the United States, the implications of these previous waves of removal, and what this suggests for future policy change.
An interview with Tanya Golash-Boza, professor of sociology at the University of California. She is the author of five books on immigration in the United States, the most recent of which examines the consequences of mass deportation.
Before the first presidential debate, Cornell University hosted "Educate the Vote 2016." This panel on Mass Incarceration & Immigration Policy was meant to educate students on two key domestic policy issues in this election.
Maria Cristina Morales is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at El Paso. After growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border, Cristina Morales went on to study immigrant labor and migration, and she addresses some of the unique challenges faced by border communities in her interview.
Barbara Young is a National Organizer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). She spoke at “Pushing the Boundaries,” a panel at the Worker Institute’s Advancing Worker Rights Conference, and was interviewed afterwards about her work with the NDWA and the methods they use to serve domestic workers.
From the Cornell Organization for Labor Action to Clinton’s Labor Advisory Committee on Trade: An Interview with Patricia Campos-Medina
Patricia Campos-Medina is the Co-Director of the Union Leadership Institute at Cornell & Extension Associate for The Worker Institute. She speaks about her history with the labor movement, from observing the struggles of her immigrant parents to giving input on the impact of trade agreements.
Daniel Carrillo is the Executive Director of ENLACE, a cross-border, multiracial coalition of low-wage worker centers, unions and community organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. He describes the powerful alliances of the New York Worker Center Federation and the Collective Resilience Organizing model they use to address issues facing low-wage and immigrant workers.
Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs with Justice and the co-director of Caring Across Generations. She outlines the crucial steps that need to be taken in campaigns surrounding care work in order to ensure visibility and fair treatment for these workers.
An Interview with SEIU’s Lina Bracero on Mobilizing the Marginalized Population to Engage in the Political Process
Lina Bracero discusses her work within the labor movement, both in the political sphere and in healthcare. She explains the strategies she has employed in her multiple union positions and how she works to create solidarity in the movement and inspire union members to make their voices heard through politics.
Dean Shelton is the 10th District Representative of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. In this piece, he gives an overview of Familias Unidas por la Justicia’s fight to improve the living and working conditions of farmworkers in Washington, detailing how this group has turned a local fight into a national boycott.
As the Lead Organizing Director for the Northeast region of the National Guestworker Alliance, Elvis Mendez has experienced first-hand the challenges and triumphs of organizing a primarily immigrant based workforce. We were able to speak with him regarding his current project for fish processing workers in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
At the Intersections of Low-Wage Work & Human Trafficking: An Interview with Gonzalo Martínez De Vedia
Gonzalo Martínez de Vedia, a Human Trafficking Specialist at the Worker Justice Center of New York, speaks about the range of tactics the organization employs to advocate for low-wage workers.
Jennifer Bernard is a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and was one of the panelists at Union Days 2016 at Cornell University. In her interview, Ms. Bernard spoke about the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and the new website her organization recently launched to help undocumented workers adjust their status.
Tefere Gebre is the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO. Tefere, born in Gondar, Ethiopia, was a political refugee and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. Don Bazley, Senior Multimedia Producer at ILR, and Prerna Sampat, Communications and Website Manager at The Worker Institute, interviewed Tefere at the Cornell campus in April, prior to his keynote speech at Union Days 2015.
ILR Alum Patrick Oakford at The Center for American Progress published this paper demonstrating how permitting the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants to earn the privilege of citizenship will significantly expand economic growth, boost incomes, create jobs, and increase tax revenues.
Vittorio Longhi is an Italian journalist of Eritrean origin. His writing has been published across a range of print and online media, including the Associated Press, the Guardian, the New York Times and La Repubblica. He is the author of The Immigrant War: A Global Movement Against Discrimination and Exploitation.
This case follows GMB's (Britain's General Union) attempt to create a migrant workers branch of the union in Southampton, UK.
In 2007, Unison joined the efforts of Kanlungan, the Alliance of Filipino Organizations, to oppose regressive immigration policy changes that threatened deportation and the loss of work permits for thousands of Filipino homecare workers.
In 2009, Unison ran a campaign against the British National Party (BNP) as the European elections were held.
This case analyzes the attempt to unionize low paid, migrant workers at one Hilton and two Hyatt chain hotels.
Built off a living wage campaign led by London Citizens, this case study describes the unionization of low-wage, predominantly migrant cleaners in London.