Labor Organizing Beyond Race and Nation: The Los Angeles Hilton Case

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Since the 1960s, the American economy has witnessed both a massive influx of immigrant workers and a sharp decline in organized labor. While some have blamed immigrant workers for the decline in labor unions, others have argued that immigrant workers represent one of the most promising possibilities for revitalizing the labor movement. In their struggle to organize, immigrant workers and their supporters have sought to overcome their structural disadvantages with innovative strategies that include community-based organizing and multi-racial coalition building. Moreover, as the American economy becomes increasingly open to transnational dynamics, labor unions have struggled to build a movement that transcends national boundaries by forging cross-national strategic alliances. While these represent Herculean tasks, there are nevertheless individual cases of success. This study examines the struggles of Latino workers in Los Angeles Hilton and Towers in 1994 and offers it as one such case in the politics of possibility.


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