UTLA – Winning an Uphill Battle

By Evan Henerson

August 31 is the Second Annual Union Night at Dodger Stadium. Attendees who buy tickets receive a special limited-edition Union Night T-shirt and those who buy groups of 50 tickets or more will be recognized during pregame festivities. For tickets, click here

Before the game, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor will recognize seven affiliates for their organizing achievements. In celebration of Union Night and with Labor Day coming up on Monday, Sept. 5, Labor 411 is giving a shout-out to these featured affiliates.

UTLA

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision of Janus v AFSCME went against organized labor, and union leaders everywhere are keenly aware that, in the wake of that ruling, the attacks on working families will only intensify.

“We know it’s going to be an uphill battle,” said Juan Ramirez, United Teachers Los Angeles Vice President. “So far, we’re doing good and that’s what matters.”

UTLA has managed to keep its membership numbers high and its ranks strong. Ramirez attributes the union’s success to a concentrated push to stay in constant contact with members to remind them of the importance of sticking together.

“It’s changed the way we do business here at UTLA,” Ramirez said. “I don’t regret that we’re doing it, and it’s meant a lot more work for the officers and the staff. We’re spending a lot of our time out at the sites.”

The message to membership is a simple one: in the face of threats, the best way to survive and thrive is through standing together.

“I think our members are getting it,” Ramirez said. “We are the laborers. We are the common people. We don’t have millions of dollars. All we have is ourselves, and that’s important.”

UTLA will be one of the affiliates recognized for their organizing efforts on the field during the pre-game celebration at Union Night at Dodger Stadium. Ramirez noted that an evening spent with up to 5,000 brothers and sisters from other unions can only help build strength.

“The more we see other fellow union brothers and sisters, I think that gives us a better idea of why we should stay together,” Ramirez said. “When we have the state convention and get to meet and talk to other union members, it gives us that good feeling of not being the only one in the struggle.”

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