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Working for Justice
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Working for Justice, which includes eleven case studies of recent low-wage worker organizing campaigns in Los Angeles, makes the case for a distinctive "L.A. Model" of union and worker center organizing. Networks linking advocates in worker centers and labor unions facilitate mutual learning and synergy and have generated a shared repertoire of economic justice strategies. The organized labor movement in Los Angeles has weathered the effects of deindustrialization and deregulation unions in other parts of the United States, and this has helped to anchor the city's wider low-wage worker movement. Los Angeles is also home to the nation's highest concentration of undocumented immigrants, making it especially fertile territory for low-wage worker organizing. The case studies in Working for Justice are all based on original field research on organizing campaigns among L.A. day laborers, garment workers, car wash workers, security officers, janitors, taxi drivers, hotel workers as well as the efforts of ethnically focused worker centers and immigrant rights organizations. The authors interviewed key organizers, gained access to primary documents, and conducted participant observation. Working for Justice is a valuable resource for sociologists and other scholars in the interdisciplinary field of labor studies, as well as for advocates and policymakers.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Joshua Bloom Introduction by Ruth Milkman Part I: Worker Centers, Ethnic Communities, and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Chapter 1. The Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance: Spatializing Justice in an Ethnic "Enclave" by Jong Bum Kwon Chapter 2. Organizing Workers along Ethnic Lines: The Pilipino Workers' Center by Nazgol Ghandnoosh Chapter 3. Alliance-Building and Organizing for Immigrant Rights: The Case of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles by Caitlin C. Patler Chapter 4. Building Power for "Noncitizen Citizenship": A Case Study of the Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network by Chinyere Osuji Part II: Occupational and Industry-Focused Organizing Campaigns Chapter 5. The Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance by Jacqueline Leavitt and Gary Blasi Chapter 6. From Legal Advocacy to Organizing: Progressive Lawyering and the Los Angeles Car Wash Campaign by Susan Garea and Sasha Alexandra Stern Chapter 7. NDLON and the History of Day Labor Organizing in Los Angeles by Maria Dziembowska Chapter 8. The Garment Worker Center and the "Forever 21" Campaign by Nicole A. Archer, Ana Luz Gonzalez, Kimi Lee, Simmi Gandhi, and Delia Herrera Part III: Unions and Low-Wage Worker Organizing Chapter 9. Ally to Win: Black Community Leaders and SEIU's L. A. Security Unionization Campaign by Joshua Bloom Chapter 10. From the Shop to the Streets: UNITE HERE Organizing in Los Angeles Hotels by Forrest Stuart Chapter 11. The Janitorial Industry and the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund by Karina Muniz Afterword by Victor Narro Notes References About the Contributors Index

About the Author

Ruth Milkman is Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and Academic Director of CUNY's Murphy Labor Institute. She is the author of several books, including the prizewinning Gender at Work and L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement. She is the coauthor of Unfinished Business, editor of Organizing Immigrants, and coeditor of New Labor in New York: Precarious Workers and the Future of the Labor Movement, Rebuilding Labor, and Working for Justice, all from Cornell.

Reviews

"Working for Justice serves both to refine and expand our knowledge of employee representation in Los Angeles through a collection of chapters related to union- and worker center-led efforts' on behalf of low-wage earning individuals. It offers a nuanced study of specific instances in which unions and advocacy groups have sought to organize low-wage workers ... The collection also takes us beyond the well-trodden ground of union advocacy in Los Angeles, introducing readers to the importance of worker centers within the region ... In so doing, the authors cover tremendously varied terrain while concurrently interweaving numerous threads of commonalities across the campaigns and organizing efforts to create a portrait of the intricate links between union and nonunion worker groups, a picture that most fully emerges in the excellent afterword."- J. Ryan Lamare, ILR Review (July 2011) "The essays in this volume offer us not only an informative account of some of the most vibrant and creative organizing campaigns to have emerged in recent years; they may also provide a glimpse of labor's future."-Joseph A. McCartin, Labor/Le Travail (Fall 2011) "Working for Justice is an excellent stepping off point for even more empirically rich, theoretically grounded studies of the workers' center movement."-Jacob Lesniewski, Critical Sociology (March 2012) "Working for Justice brings to light the struggles, the strategies, and the unlikely triumphs of organizations on the cutting edge of low-wage worker organizing in Los Angeles, the epicenter of labor's resurgence in the United States today. The book offers insights that can be found nowhere else and should be read eagerly by labor leaders and organizers, academics in fields from political science to sociology to law, and all others who seek a deeper understanding of how social change really happens."-Jennifer Gordon, Fordham Law School "If there is to be a paradigm shift toward public sociology, Working for Justice could serve as the exemplar. Community leaders and activists helped shape the questions that scholars pursued, provided access academics can rarely achieve, reviewed drafts and offered feedback, and in the process enriched scholarship and advanced theory. These are cutting-edge studies of little-known campaigns based on the Los Angeles model of intimate connections between unions and worker centers."-Dan Clawson, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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