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 protege of the late William Greider, Mike Elk is a Sidney award winning labor reporter and the founder of Payday Report. He worked extensively as a correspondent for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report while living in Chattanooga. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he now lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Melk@PaydayReport.com