Painters’ Union Aims to Build Cross-Cultural Alliance in the South

Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition activists (TIRRC)

Writing for the Guardian, Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk looks at how the Painters’ Union’s new focus on organizing immigrants in Nashville is achieving results:

Ponce’s union is investing heavily to organize Latino workers in Nashville, where it currently has no traditional dues-paying members covered by union contracts that are Latino. Often Latino construction workers, despite being heavily skilled, are unable to join traditional unions because they lack documentation.

Last spring, the painters union launched a new worker center under the banner of Alianza Laboral that will allow workers in non-union workplaces to join the union as an affiliate member at half the dues of those covered by the union contract. The aim is to mobilize whole communities that otherwise couldn’t be a part to feel a sense of belonging in the labor movement.

For more, go to the Guardian.

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A Sidney-award winning labor reporter, Mike Elk is the founder of Payday Report and also covers labor and immigration for The Guardian. In 2015, he was illegally fired for union organizing as Politico’s senior labor reporter and used his $70,000 NLRB settlement to start Payday. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh He can be reached at Melk@PaydayReport.com