After working hard to get here, many Latino immigrants demand respect in the workplace and are more willing to join unions in a tough economic environment, organizers say. [...]I guess if you fought to get here, and fought to stay, there'd be no reason to stop fighting for the better life you were looking for all along.
"This has a lot to do with the changing demographics of the workforce in these states," said Ruben Garcia, a labor law professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. "The big campaigns in the carwash industry in L.A., the janitors in Houston and the people who work on the Strip here tend to be an immigrant Latino workforce that's willing to stand up at the workplace, sometimes with great risks."
Policy also has a lot to do with how possible it is for workers to join unions, and while Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed several bills that would have made it easier for some of the most vulnerable workers to organize or offered greater workplace protections, he has also signed a law cracking down on misclassification of workers and a compromise measure on farm worker organizing. When you give workers more rights and more places to turn in case of abuse, you rein in the unfettered power of the boss in the workplace, and that makes it easier to unionize, if only a little easier.