LABOR DAY: In celebration of Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, I would like to give recognition to the many dedicated Hispanic Labor Leaders. All of these Hispanic Unionists have fought and are fighting to continue the improvement of wages, hours, working conditions and benefits for workers. Their dedication, hard work and involvement in their Union helped create the middle class in America.
I CAN ATTEST to the fact that organizing and representing workers requires hard work and perseverance. My experience is based on the fact that I was formerly the President of the Chicago Typographical Union No. 16/CWA 14408, elected during the1985 Chicago Tribune strike. I have the distinction of being the only Mexican-American elected President of CTU #16. For 10 years, I was elected the Recording Secretary and Organizer of my Union and served as delegate in both the State AFL-CIO and Chicago Federation of Labor for 17 years. Also, for 12 years as Secretary Treasurer of the Chicago Allied Printing Trades Council. In total I was elected 13 times to Union office.
IN 1973, State AFL-CIO President Stanley Johnson appointed me to represent Illinois Hispanic labor at the National Constitutional Convention of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement [LCLAA] held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was an honor for me to represent Hispanic labor of Illinois. Presently, I am the President/founder of the Hispanic American Labor Council. HALC was organized October 21, 1973.
ALL OF THE Hispanic labor leaders whom I have had the honor of knowing over the many years in my Union career have a common trait; they are all active within their Unions. They hold the positions of Union Officers, Business Managers, Presidents, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Sgt.-at-Arms, Trustees, Union Representatives, Organizers, Shop Stewards and Union delegates; and each of them work faithfully in organizing campaigns, negotiating contracts, serving as strike captains or coordinators, attending many Union meetings, serving on Union committees and participating in Union elections. They spend weeks, months and years toiling in the field to organize the unorganized worker. Their involvement is the backbone of their respective Unions.
HERE are their names and Union affiliations:
JORGE RAMIREZ, son of Mexican immigrants, is President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. Ramirez has a law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and graduated as a student scholarship athlete from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1993 with a double major in marketing and computer information system.
|Jesse M. Rios|
Sgt. -at- Arms, CFL
RAMIREZ was previously the Secretary-Treasurer of the Federation. Prior to joining the CFL, was elected Vice President and served as Executive Director of Local 1546 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International. He serves on numerous commissions and boards.
JESSE M. RIOS, formerly the President of the American Federal Government Employees Union, Local No. 648 [AFGE] and presently serving on the Executive Board of the Chicago Federation of Labor holding the position of Sgt. of Arms. He was an active Union member with the United Auto Workers Union prior to becoming the President of Local 648. He is very knowledgeable on issues affecting Unions and the middle class. Jesse is the Vice-President of the Hispanic American Labor Council and he lives in Pilsen.
|Jose A. Caez|
JOSE A. CAEZ is the Business Manager/Financial Secretary of the IBEW Local 1031. Jose’s Union was the largest electrical workers Union in the State of Illinois. He has been active in his Union for many years and served on numerous Union committees. Presently, he is a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor and serves on the National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement [LCLAA] Executive Board and Treasurer of the Hispanic American Labor Council.
Nat. LCLAA Ex. Bd.
JOSE GUERRERO is a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241. He was formerly the Vice President of Local 241 and active in Union affairs for many years. He is presently a member of the Executive Board of the National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement [LCLAA]. In his retirement, Jose remains a strong advocate for the causes of the United Farm Workers of America. Jose said: “I’m proud to be a Union member”.
HISPANIC LABOR LEADERS past and present: Francisco Montalvo, Jr., UPE Local 2287, University Professional Employees; Ricardo Loza, SEIU Local 73; Victor E. Gonzalez, Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1; Leo Velez Panatsis, HERE Local 450; Niebes Guerrero, Operating Engineers, Local 143; Joe Govea, I.B.E.W. Local 134; Geno Rodriguez, Teamsters Local 714; Raul Cantu, UFCW 881; Oscar Davila, Carpenters, Local 10; Rene Rodriguez, Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 73; Hector Hernandez, Teamsters Local 700; Herman Cortez, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 308; Able Camacho, ATU 241.
ANDY GASCA, Bricklayers Union; Charles Cordero, UAW Local 719; David B. Torres, County Municipal Employee’s, Supervisors & Foreman Union, Local 100; Henry C. Flores*, Plumbers, Local 130; Ramon Bercerra, IBEW 134; Ronald Maydon, SEIU 73; Julia A. Gutierrez, I.B.E.W. 134; John Chico*, United Steel Workers of America, Local 65; John G. Agrela, Sheet Metal Workers Union, Local 115; Ruben Almendarez, IBEW Local 134; Christina Barillas, Plumbers Local 130; Angel Del Rivero, Operating Engineers, Local 150; Luis Tovar, IBEW 134.
JOHN GARCIA, ILGWU; Alicia Padilla, Teamsters Local 743; Fred Hernandez, Local I.U.E.C. Local 2; Arthur A. Velasquez, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiner of America; Philip Gonzalez, AFSCME Local 368; Daniel C. Gasca Jr., H.E.R.E. Local 1; Mike Garcia*, I.B.E.W. Local 134; Maurico Villasenor, Plasters Local 74; Jose M. Reyes, Plasters Local 5; Eleazar Garza, Plaster Union, Local 5; Sergio Segura, United Steel Workers; Carlos Quinones, Plumbers Local 130; Sylvia Salas, ASFME Local 2856; Jose Barrios, IBEW 134; Juan Jose Hernandez, Laborers Local 681; Jose L. Hernandez, Laborers Intl. Local 681, Joe Sallas, Ironworkers Local 1; Alfredo Martinez, United Steelworkers of America; Hortensia Cartlidge, SEIU #73.
JOSE ZAMARRIPA, Jr., Laborers Local 681; Robert Mendez*, Machinist Union; Fernandez Ruiz, Jr., Laborers Union; Leo Esparza, Local 118; Juan J. Hernandez, Laborers Local 2; Miguel Arias*, National AFL-CIO Representative; Robert Murillo*, USWA Local 65; Daniel Cabrera*, SEIU; James Ramirez, Teamsters Local 710; Eli Medina, SEIU Local 73; Peter Mendoza, AFSCME Local 1866, Sergio Monterrubio, UFCW 881. Hispanic labor leaders are the unsung heroes in our society; struggling in the trenches of the labor movement. *Deceased.
In celebration of Labor Day is this oil painting of Union ironworkers by a realist painter, Garin Baker, New York, New York 1961. This painting hangs on the wall in the Galter Pavilion, second floor, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago. A wall plaque reads: “Baker painted large urban cityscapes…At the core of his work is his understanding of people and their relationship to the environment. Baker’s work celebrates the human spirit.”