UCLA Labor Center

Labor’s Voice Education Series Launches

Publish date: May 8, 2020



The UCLA Labor Center in partnership with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor launched Labor’s Voice, a labor education series featuring the voices of workers, labor leaders, community leaders, and educators to promote inspiring ideas to advance policy change in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. 

This Labor Education Workshop series will: 

  • Highlight labor movement campaigns for economic and racial justice, especially as we address the Covid-19 crisis and advance initiatives for economic recovery;
  • Feature the voices of labor leaders, community leaders, and educators to promote inspiring ideas for the future, and to advance policy change;
  • Establish a regular time to build community, strengthen worker, community and student alliances, and change the narrative and conversation;
  • Lift up worker voices and the power of the labor movement;
  • Promote a call to action to organize for change.


Series Schedule:

This series will be available via Facebook live and in our YouTube channel every third or fourth Thursday of the month.


September 2, 2021 at 7 pm PDT – Labor’s Voice: The Recall and the Fight for Democracy

Video recording here.

This Labor’s Voice program focuses on the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Labor leaders discuss what is at stake for the labor movement and what the labor movement can do during the critical days before the election on September 14.


Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Represents Senate District 24

John Grant, President of UFCW 770

April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015

Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO


July 22, 2021 at 7pm PDT – Building the Immigrant Youth Movement

Video recording here.

This Labor’s Voice Program focuses on the immigrant youth movement and commemorates the 10th anniversary of Dream Summer, the first national fellowship for undocumented immigrant youth launched by the UCLA Labor Center and Dream Resource Center.

Immigrant rights and labor leaders discuss the role immigrant youth are playing in the fight for immigration reform and the growing alliance between the labor movement and immigrant youth movement. Now more than ever, this discussion is critical as immigration reform is back on the national agenda.


Anthony Ng, Dream Resource Center Director & Dream Summer Alum

Hugo Romero, LA County Fed Political Coordinator & Dream Summer Alum

Karely Amaya, IDEAS at UCLA Member & Dream Summer Fellow

Susan Li, SEIU 721 Member & Dream Summer Host


June 24, 2021 at 7 PM PDT – LGBTQ+ Worker Rights

Video recording here.

This Labor’s Voice program focuses on LGBTQ+ worker rights and honors Pride Month. Labor leaders discuss what the labor movement needs to do to advance LGBTQ+ worker rights and a new binational report, from the UCLA Labor Center in collaboration with the United Food and Commercial Workers OUTreach, that finds union contracts and workplace education lead to more protections for LGBTQ+ workers.


Emmanuelle Lopez-Bastos, National Human Rights, Equity and Diversity Coordinator of UFCW Canada

Janna Shadduck Hernandez, Project Director at the UCLA Labor Center

Jean Tong, Union Representative at UFCW Local 770

Michele Kessler, Secretary Treasurer of UFCW Local 1776 KS

Shirley Hepditch, Member of UFCW Local 175 since 1999

Moderated by Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center


May 27, 2021 at 7pm- STOP Anti-Asian Hate

May is Asian Pacific American History Month. This month, all across the country, there has been an outpouring of support for the Asian Pacific American community in the face of an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence. There have been almost 3,800 documented cases of anti-Asian hate since the beginning of the pandemic.

What is the cause of anti-Asian violence, and what can be done about it? What role can the labor movement play to stop anti-Asian hate, and how can we build multi-racial unity at a time when many communities of color are confronting white supremacy and institutional racism?


Congresswoman Judy Chu, a national leader in the fight against anti-Asian violence

Arlene Inouye, from the United Teachers of Los Angeles

Johanna Hester, from AFSCME UDW and former President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance


April 22, 2021 at 7pm- The Fight For Immigrant’s Rights

Video recording here.

May Day, International Workers Day, is once again celebrated in the U.S. because of the Immigrant Workers Movement. And nowhere in the country is the immigrant workers’ movement more vibrant than here in Los Angeles and California. Last month we celebrated the birthday of Cesar Chavez, one of the best-known labor leaders in U.S. history. Some of the most significant immigrant worker organizing campaigns in the country have emerged in Los Angeles, including the historic Justice for Janitors movement. Los Angeles has emerged as a focal point for the immigrant youth movement. And the dynamic worker center movement of Los Angles has helped to pace set the nation.


Teresa Romero is President of the UFW.

Rocio Saenz was a leader of the historic Justice for Janitors campaign of Los Angeles and now leads the immigration work for SEIU nationally.

Alexandra Suh is the Director of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, building multi-racial working-class unity to fight for economic and racial justice.

Hugo Romero is a former immigrant youth activist who is now on the staff of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The focus of our conversation will be on the current status of immigration reform in the country, which is back on the national agenda for the first time in over a decade.


March 18, 2021 at 7pm- A Woman’s Place is in Her Union

Video recording here.

This Labor’s Voice program celebrates Women’s History Month and features three outstanding women labor leaders, who are anchoring national organizations within the labor movement.


Elise Bryant, President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women

Yanira Merino, President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

Monica Thammarath, President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance


February 18, 2021 at 7pm- The Struggle for Black Worker Justice

Video recording here.

This segment of Labor’s Voice celebrates Black History Month, with three labor leaders who are leading the fight for racial justice and worker justice


Doug Moore is the President of AFSCME/UDW who leads one of the largest unions in California of home care and child care workers.

Anton Farmby is a leader of SEIU-USWW, which secured one of the largest organizing victories of African American workers in decades with the Security Officer campaign.

Janel Bailey, Co-Executive Director of the Black Worker Center, the first Black Worker Center in the country which has served as an inspiration for a national network of Black Worker Centers throughout the country.


January 21, 2021 at 7pm- Insurrection, Impeachment, and Inauguration

Video recording here.

The beginning of 2021 brought a historic victory in Georgia which flipped the U.S. Senate, and in quick succession, we witnessed insurrection, impeachment, and the Inauguration. On Monday, we celebrated the birth and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Join us for a conversation about the historic events we have witnessed in the first weeks of 2021.


Reverend James Lawson, Jr.

Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice PresidentAFL-CIO

Susan Minato, Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11.


December 16 2020 at 7pm- What Should Labor Do Now? 

Video recording here.

The election of Biden/Harris was a huge victory for the U.S. labor movement. What should labor do now? What are the major policy initiatives that labor should propose to the new administration? How can labor build on the energy from the November Elections as we prepare for 2021?


Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU

April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015

Ron Herrera, President of LA County Federation of Labor


September 28 2020 at 7pm- Countdown To The 2020 Election 

Video recording here.

The Los Angeles labor movement has played a critical role in building political power for workers in Los Angeles and California. This episode will discuss on how to get involved in the upcoming election and a conversation about Proposition 16.


Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center

Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, Project Director, UCLA Labor Center

Hugo Romero, Political Coordinator, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor

Michelle Bertinelli, Volunteer Coordinator, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor

Monica Thammarath, President, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO


August 24 2020 at 7pm- Mike Garcia & The Justice For Janitors Movement

Video recording here.

This episode will discuss a new publication titled “Mike Garcia and the Justice for Janitors Movement,” which explores the extraordinary legacy of the late Mike Garcia. Mike Garcia was the longtime leader of SEIU United Service Workers West and a trailblazing advocate for immigrant workers across the nation.


Ron Herrera, President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

David Huerta, President, SEIU United Service Workers West

Sandra Diaz, Vice-President, SEIU United Service Workers West

Gilbert Cedillo, LA City Councilmember, District 1


August 3 2020 at 7pm- Safe Schools & Communities First

Video recording here.

This episode will be a discussion of how we can prioritize investment into schools through November’s Prop 15 (Schools and Communities First), as well as the safe, responsible reopening of schools post-COVID.


Cecily Myart-Cruz, President of UTLA

Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99

Anthony Thigpenn, Founder and President of California Calls


July 16 2020 at 7pm- Stopping the Spread: Workers on the Frontlines

Video recording here.

This episode will cover the importance that worksites play on public safety and the critical role that workers play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and keeping our economy from total shutdown.


Linda Delp, Director, UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) Program

Gabriel Montoya, EMT, SEIU-UHW

DeAndre Williams, Grocery Worker, UFCW770

Rob Nothoff, Policy Director, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Performance by Aquilina Soriano, Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)


June 29 2020 at 7pm- Driving Change in the Gig Economy

Video recording here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed increasingly troublesome patterns in the “Gig Economy”. From misclassifying workers to not providing PPE, corporations have continued to exploit workers when worker protections are needed most. This episode of Labor’s Voice will feature key research, worker voices, and concrete actions to support gig economy workers during this critical time.


Tia Koonse, Legal and Policy Research Manager, UCLA Labor Center

Bryan Blum, Political Director, California Labor Federation

Felipe Caceres, Organizer, SEIU 721

Jerome Gage, Rideshare Driver, Mobile Workers Alliance

Rosemarie Molina, Organizing Director, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO


June 8 2020 at 7pm- Racial Injustice: A Conversation with Rev. James Lawson, Jr. 

Video recording here.

This episode will feature the powerful voice of Rev. James Lawson, Jr., a Methodist minister and a key architect of the nonviolent tactics of the Civil Rights Movement. On the eve of his assassination, Martin Luther King called Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” Join us as we discuss the police murder of George Floyd that has once again exposed the pattern of state-sanctioned violence directed at people of color, especially black men.


Ron Herrera, President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Rev. James Lawson Jr., Methodist minister

Performance by Anthony Gates


May 27 2020 at 7pm- The Essential Workers Keeping Us Fed

Video recording here.

This week we will be discussing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the essential workers that are keeping us fed – farmworkers, drivers, and grocery workers – and the hurdles & risks they are facing along the way to getting food to our tables.


Ron Herrera, President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Teresa Romero, President of UFW

Lou VillaIvazo, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 630

John Grant, President of UFCW770

Performance by Irene Diaz, a singer-songwriter from Highland Park. Throughout her life, Irene has been focused on the search for identity and expression, and for a creative community and direction that best serves her mission. Irene has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series and Alt Latino. She performs Los Angeles and has performed in New York, Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Beyond her music career, Irene is a frontline worker.


May 11 2020 at 7pm- Right to Recall & Retention 

Video recording here.

This week we will be covering the historic right to recall & retention legislation passed in the City of Los Angeles and how it will protect tens of thousands of workers across the city.


Ron Herrera, President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Susan Minato, Co-President, UNITE HERE Local 11

David Huerta, President, SEIU United Service Workers West

Guest Artists: César Castro and Xochi Flores-Castor, Members Los Cambalache

Cambalache which means “exchange” is Chicano-Son Jarocho music – a mix of indigenous baroque Spanish instruments, Afro Caribbean beats, Mexican and Arabic sounds that draws the audience in to participate in the spirit of the fandango. The fandango celebration is central to the son jarocho tradition of Veracruz, Mexico which fosters community participation and unity. In greater Los Angeles, this music has become a central resource and asset for movement building.