CISPES brings Salvadoran labor leaders to Labor Notes Conference
On the heels of International Workers’ Day, Estela Ramirez of the Salvadoran Union Front traveled to Chicago to join over 1,500 union members and social justice organizers from around the world at the Labor Notes conference. With the goal of “Putting the Movement back in the Labor Movement,” Labor Notes organizes to support union democracy and rank and file leadership in the labor movement, principles which are deeply reflected in both Estela’s own garment-workers’ union, SITRASACOSI, and the Salvadoran Union Front, a progressive coalition which acts as the instrument of struggle for El Salvador’s working class. Estela inspired fellow organizers with the clarity of her political and economic analysis and her resolute determination to defend both the right to live with dignity and the right to organize.
Throughout the weekend, Estela challenged fellow participants to identify the true enemies of the working class, helping them develop strategies to turn a conflict in their workplace or in their union into an opportunity to build power from below, and stressed the importance of political education and leadership development.
Highlighting the solidarity role that organizations like United Students Against Sweatshops, the Workers’ Rights Consortium, STITCH and CISPES played in several of the garment workers’ victories, she called on new allies to stand with Salvadoran workers as they continue to resist privatization and other neoliberal policies while building just, democratic alternatives, including SITRASACOSI’s new worker-owned co-op! For more information on CISPES’ upcoming Labor Solidarity Delegation (May Day, 2013), please visit www.cispes.org. n