UCLA IRLE and UCLA Labor Center | November 16, 2023
The UCLA Labor Center led a delegation of over 30 prominent California labor leaders to Mexico City for a binational convening titled “Building Cross-Border Labor Solidarity: A Binational Plan of Action,” to promote global worker and union solidarity among the California delegation and Mexican independent trade unionists, held on Nov 10-11 at UC’s Casa de California.
The convening, planned in partnership with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, and three new University Labor Centers in Mexico, was held amid a national wave of union organizing in the U.S. in sectors spanning auto manufacturing, hospitality, retail, entertainment, healthcare, education and the public sector, among others. In Mexico, new independent unions have successfully organized multinational corporations following the recently renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“We are excited to bring together labor leaders from California and Mexico who have been at the forefront of dynamic campaigns for worker justice,” said Kent Wong, project director for labor and community partnerships at the UCLA Labor Center. “At a time when labor activism is growing on both sides of the border, cross border solidarity is needed now more than ever.”
Conference attendees discussed the current state of labor organizing in both nations, protecting worker rights through rapid response strategies and outlined a binational organizing plan. The meeting also focused on major public events including the 2026 World Cup as an opportunity to advance a worker justice agenda.
Saba Waheed, director at the UCLA Labor Center, thinks the event will pave the way for future collaboration.
“The convening reflected the interconnectedness of our labor movements, and shared challenges. It was a historic event to dialogue and learn from each other and build a foundation to align our efforts to address worker issues globally.”
The delegation of California labor leaders included representatives from: AFSCME United Domestic Workers, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, California Building Trades Council, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Orange County Labor Federation, San Diego Imperial County Labor Council, SEIU 2015, SEIU 721, SEIU United Service Workers West, Teamsters Joint Council #42, UNITE HERE Local 11, United Auto Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers #770, United Steelworkers, United Teachers Los Angeles and Workers United.