A group of men raise their fists and make victory signs. Some hold paper checks.

Somma waterbed workers win back-pay

In 1984, workers at the Somma waterbed factory in East Los Angeles began organizing themselves and sought out the ILGWU to represent them. Most the workers were immigrants from Mexico and Central America. In January 1984, the workers voted for union representation in an NLRB election by a wide margin. The employer Angel Echevarria, a prominent figure in the Latino community and in Los Angeles politics, refused to negotiate with the union and fired several workers. The workers held rolling strikes and continuous pickets, and after several months the NLRB ordered the fired workers rehired with back pay. In this picture, ILGWU organizer Miguel Machuca (wearing a tie) celebrates with Somma workers, many holding their back-pay checks.

Source: ILGWU Photographs, Box 3, Folder 9, Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives at the Cornell University Library.

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