a picture of me and the ladies after we presented our research to our labor course. We worked with the United Service Workers West-Service Employees International Union (USWW-SEIU) Local 1877 Justice for Janitors campaign. We conducted interviews with a total of 18 janitors who participated in the Los Angeles Justice for Janitors campaign at any point after its inception on 1985 in order to gain a deeper understanding about the challenges, changes, setbacks, and victories the union has experienced over time. The union itself has been and instrumental part of the labor movement in the U.S. and serves as a model union for others throughout. These interviews will be archived at UCLA as part of the Justice for Janitors History and Oral History Project. To learn more about it check out this link.
Our project coordinator was Professor Gaspar Rivera-Salgado. Professor Virginia Espino also gave us a workshop on how to conduct oral history interviews, although we did a balance between oral history interviews as well as interviews for labor research purposes, which is more of a guided interview based upon questions we create (although obviously each person we interview is different so there is an amount of improvising of questions we must do to find out themes we have outlined, such as immigrant experience, previous political involvement and their view of the union over time.) The last interview conducted was with Mike Garcia, president of Local 1877, and he had so much to say related to his own family living as Chicanos in Los Angeles as well as about his own involvement in union politics.
We were also fortunate enough to be able to conduct a three hour workshop related to local, state, and federal government, their functions, and who represents what. One of the organizers at the union informed us that they really enjoyed it and wanted to know when the next workshop would be! I feel so blessed to have been able to participate in this project.