LGBTQ and Labor Unite in Las Vegas, Phoenix

On July 8th, Cleve Jones came to Local 226 in Las Vegas to talk about how the LGBTQ movement and the labor movement are, in essence, the same movement. “He taught us to stand up for what’s right,” Summer Organizer Wynn said. “I admire his ability to bring together different kinds of people from different kinds of backgrounds. It’s really hard to get people see that we all have a stake in this fight,” Rachel, another Summer Organizer, added. Summer Organizer Ielina shared a personal thought: “When Cleve was talking about how he thought he was the least smart and talented person in his group of friends, who all died of AIDS, it really got me to think about how much I doubt myself and how I shouldn’t give up.”

Summer Organizer Johnny relates his experience on the LGBTQ panel with Cleve Jones in Phoenix:

“The experience of having been able to participate in a training session on LGBTQ and how it all ties in with labor was a great opportunity. It demonstrated to me that this union does not centralize on just one or two people, it is a union of inclusion, a union truly working to ensure equality for and for better working conditions for all of its members and for the community. It really gets to the heart of the idea of “Organizing Beyond Barriers.”

“To be able to also have a man like Cleve Jones at our training, and for me to be able to meet him and to sit on a panel with him, and to be able to listen to the stories of the fighting he’s seen in his life was surreal. He is such an inspiring man, and such a lifelong fighter.

“The whole training was very inspirational and helped me to be able to shed light on how issues in the LGBTQ community tie into labor. It helped me to be able to reflect on the progress that has been made in the past. Learning about different communities of people working together for fair treatment, wages, and respect was a very moving part of the training. I am thankful to have been able to go through this training and to hear and learn about gay rights in the past, now, and plans for the future with UNITE HERE!

“I look forward to continuing to work with the union to educate the community and to bring unity to all of us out here.”

Beatriz, Clipper, Khayree, and Athena work on their power map

Comprehensive Campaign Training – Phoenix

Beatriz, Clipper, Khayree, and Athena work on their power map On Wednesday, two UNITE HERE members shared their experiences from comprehensive campaigns they have worked on, focusing on the methods and techniques they used. The one I found especially useful was Power Mapping Exercise. We broke into three groups and mapped out the stakeholders in local campaigns in the Valley.  The training really helped me understand that you have to be strategic and move one group to move another. With the visual aspect, our map made it clear what we had to do. Thinking about a United Students for Fair Trade (USFT) campaign from last semester (that we lost), I realized that we had not had the students on our side. If we had moved the right groups, we could have won that campaign. I’ll be showing more people how to power map at a USFT training in August, and we will try again! – Kim, Summer Organizer, Phoenix

Sky Chefs Actions Across the Nation

New Orleans LeafletSummer Organizers from coast to coast have been working hard to inform CVS managers and customers about issues at Sky Chefs, one of CVS’ vendors. Around the country, there have been about 30 delegations to CVS thus far! After the excitement Summer Organizers in New York experienced during their action, Summer Organizers in Chicago, Phoenix and New Orleans share their experiences:

Chicago Leaflet

“In Chicago, we took our materials to a CVS on Friday, July 1st. The CVS manager called the police, claiming we were harassing customers. Of course, we were not harassing customers, and so I wasn’t worried when the police showed up, but if we hadn’t known our rights they would have at the very least made us leave. So that leads me to the most important lesson I learned this week: Always know your rights. If you don’t, people may try to take advantage of you.” – Sophia, Summer Organizer, Chicago

New Orleans CVS leaflet

“In Phoenix, we had two very different experiences in our actions in support of SkyChefs workers this week. Johnny’s team distributed the FDA report and Food Bill of Rights to CVS management, who refused to sign the letter to the CVS supply chain executive. The team leafleted outside until management said the police were on their way. On the other side of the spectrum, our team spoke to a supervisor who really listened to us when we shared the information about Sky Chefs with him. He agreed to send all our material up the management chain. Since he had agreed to share information with his higher-ups, we didn’t leaflet, and at first our team was disappointed that we didn’t encounter the same excitement other teams had. But when we talked about the action in the car aftNew Orleans Leafleterwards, we remembered that we had accomplished our goal to bring the truth to higher levels of the company. So both Johnny’s team and our team were successful, just in different ways!”
– Jibran, Summer Organizer, Phoenix

New Orleans was also rocking and rolling, thanks to the hard work of Summer Organizers Charles, Zachary and Michael and their volunteers!

Rising Up In The Land of Sunshine

Organizing Beyond Barriers Summer Organizers in Phoenix drew over 125 volunteers to an all-day movement building training on Saturday to kick off our Phoenix Rising 2011 Campaign.

We started bright and early in the morning with an introduction to our campaign goals: to transform the culture of Phoenix, and of Arizona, by working with the Latino community to take action in their neighborhoods, and by fighting for a more just and sustainable jobs policy in the city of Phoenix.

Volunteers spent the rest of the day in workshops sharing stories, practicing one-to-one organizing, engaging in team building, and discussing campaign strategy. After 25 of the heartiest volunteers went out to canvass Latino neighborhoods in Phoenix, the day ended with a celebratory dinner.

We are fired up and diving right into the work. The seven Summer Organizers assigned to Phoenix Rising are now organizing three canvasses for next week and a 30-person support action for food service and custodial workers at Sky Harbor Airport.

Our team is coming together and our campaign is in full swing! Si se puede!