Latino Organizations Support Workers and Collective Bargaining

USHLI Joins with 19 National Latino Organizations United in Opposition to Brutal Attacks against Workers and Collective Bargaining

Chicago - The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) today joined with 19 national organizations in calling for all workers to unite against the efforts of rogue governors and reckless legislators to abolish collective bargaining while putting public safety at risk, disrupting the educational process, and punishing teachers for exercising their rights in opposing this meat-axe approach to fiscal stability.  Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., USHLI President, said "Collective bargaining is the centerpiece of worker rights.  These attacks against collective bargaining strike at the very heart of the right workers have to protect themselves against unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and employer intimidation.  Collective bargaining is the one right workers have to ensure access to adequate quality healthcare as well as employment and economic security.  Without collective bargaining workers will be unable to protect themselves against employers whose reprehensible tactics and methods of negotiating would be identical to those we are seeing in these governors and legislators today."

Governors and legislators who are clearly anti-worker and anti-union are trying to blame today's fiscal crisis on hard working public employees, including law enforcement officers, teachers and firefighters.  Their irresponsible solution to today's fiscal crisis is to attack public employees, drive down wages and cut benefits, increase employee contributions to healthcare and pension plans, terminate current contracts, do away with binding arbitration, and make it more difficult for employees to pay their union dues - in short, bust their unions.  The general public is being deliberately misinformed and being led to believe that employee pension plans are funded entirely by taxpayers, hoping to turn taxpayers against trade unionists and the unions to which they belong.  Nothing could be further from the truth and these governors and legislators know it.

Andrade said "By protecting working people in America, unions have made our nation strong.  Unions have created America's middle class - which includes both Democrats and Republicans.  Under the guise of frugality and responsible stewardship, today's misguided governors and legislators, particularly those in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin, have launched a no-holds-barred attack against the middle class and some of the most important public employees in our communities and the unions that have made it possible for their members to be treated with dignity and respect and properly compensated.  What we are seeing in today's governors and legislators is the way employees without collective bargaining rights will be treated by their employers in the future and that is why all workers, unions, organizations at all levels, and all Americans who want to see decency, civility, and safety in the workplace must unite against these wrong-headed governors and legislators."

USHLI wholeheartedly endorses the collective statement below which was recently released by 19 other national organizations.           

WASHINGTON, DC-  As working families struggle to stay afloat in this economic downturn, a wave of state-led attacks are threatening workers and the basic structure that protects their rights on the job. Attempts to destroy the right of workers to bargain collectively raise grave concerns about job quality and economic security for working families and vulnerable segments of our populations including Latinos and low-income families. Poor quality jobs, limited access to health care, pensions combined with high rates of wage violations, injuries and fatalities in the workplace are grave issues that disproportionately affect the Latino community.  In the absence of unions, attacks on workers' rights and declining job quality will go unabated for all workers; exacerbating these risks among vulnerable populations.

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Iowa and Florida are among a growing number of states with legislatures proposing bills to destroy workers' right to bargain collectively in the workplace.  In light of these attacks on workers and labor unions, nineteen leading national Latino organizations united to call on lawmakers to oppose legislation that limits the power of workers to negotiate for quality jobs, good wages, benefits, safe working conditions and job security.

Across the country, tens of thousands of workers and their supporters are gathering to oppose legislative measures targeting the rights and pockets of public sector workers as the means to address budget shortfalls.

Hundreds of thousands of state, county and local employees are battling proposals in Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan and Florida that seek to: revoke "prevailing wage" laws; restrict or destroy collective bargaining rights; terminate union negotiated contracts; remove required binding arbitration; and prevent unions from collecting dues from their members.

In the history of our nation, labor unions have served as workers' watchdogs and the decline in union presence in our workplaces is a major issue affecting the job quality of Latinos and all workers across industry sectors. By bargaining collectively through their union, workers are able to negotiate higher wages.  The union wage benefit is greatest for workers of color and women. Unionized Latinos earn approximately 51 percent more than their nonunion counterparts while union women earn almost 34 percent more than nonunion women.  Unions are making a critical contribution to the protection and economic security of workers nationwide and play a key role in leveling the playing field between workers and employers.

Nineteen prominent national Latino organization oppose any attacks on working people and the unions that defend their rights in the workplace and contribute to their economic advancement.  The growing list of organizations opposing attacks to collective bargaining includes:

Cuban American National Council (CNC)
Hermandad Mexicana Latino Americana
Hispanic Federation
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Mexican American Political Association (MAPA)
National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC)
National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL)
National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC)
National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA)
National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP)
National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC)
National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC)
Ser Jobs for Progress National, Inc.
Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)
William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)
William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is a national Latino organization representing the interests of over 2 million Latino(a) trade unionists throughout the United States and the Common Wealth of Puerto Rico. Since its inception in 1973, LCLAA has organized and advocated for the rights of workers seeking justice in the workplace and in their communities. LCLAA is a constituency group representing Latino activists and union members belonging to the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win Federation. Visit us at    

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