As leader of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Miguel Contreras (1952-2005) reshaped LA’s unions into a powerful political, economic, and social force. The child of farm workers, Contreras was an organizer for the United Farm Workers union (UFW), and later the Hotel and Restaurant Employees union (HERE). He led the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor from 1996 until is death in 2005. The LA Alliance for a New Economy produced this video documenting Contreras’s life story and his impact on the city’s labor movement and working people.
Following the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Los Angeles unions became more involved in recruiting immigrant workers. An article in the L.A. County Federation of Labor Newsletter profiles the Labor Immigrant Assistance Project (LIAP) and the California Immigrant Workers Association (CIWA), both efforts by the labor movement to reach out to new immigrants. From The Federation News, January/February 1989, pp. 4-5.