Author: elonredcypress

November 17th, 2021

Union organizing isn’t a game. Well actually, now it is!

Today, GLJ-ILRF and UNI Americas launched Union Drive, the first video game developed as a tool to teach the fundamentals of union organizing.

Over 80 union leaders, organizers and activists from Latin America and around the world attended our launch event to learn more about this interactive, educational tool. We will continue hosting events and trainings for unions and organizers to learn more about Union Drive.

This video game is an innovative new tool and part of GLJ-ILRF’s 2022 plans to expand global campaign development through intensive organizing training. 

In this virtual adventure, you work at a local supermarket. Yesterday 20 of your coworkers were fired. Now is the time to take collective action and secure protections for you and your coworkers.

To get there, you’ll need to lead tough conversations with your coworkers, build trust, agitate, and organize!

“UNI and our affiliates are figuring out ways to use new media to reach more workers and bring them into unions,” said Marcio Monzane, General Secretary of UNI Americas. “This game is an exciting new tool to recruit young workers throughout the Americas.”

Over the past decade, “digital natives” have entered the labor force in every sector. This generation of workers learns and communicates through visual and interactive technological experiences. While no technology can replace the power of one-on-one organizing and relationships among coworkers, labor leaders should follow an old adage of organizing – meet workers where they are. These days, young workers are on their smartphones. 

“Union Drive is a tool and tactic to help us get better organized to take on global capital, which is very well organized”, said Valery Alzaga, GLJ-ILRF’s Deputy Director, “we in labor need to be relevant, digitally smart and present”.

This game will help reach young people who are already leading many movements across the world. “We hope to spark interest in union organizing among young activists.”, said Noah Dobin-Bernstein from GLJ-ILRF, “There have been massive protests and youth uprisings in Chile, Colombia and around the world. We want the young people who are leading those fights to join the labor movement”.

For more information and to get access to the game please email Noah Dobin-Bernstein:

October 14th, 2021

In Los Angeles, garment workers like Maria, Elizabeth, and Carlos are earning around $6 an hour. That’s because they’re paid through the piece rate system, where workers earn pennies per garment sewn instead of earning an hourly wage. “These industries are run by millionaires,” Maria from the Garment Workers Center shared on the Los Angeles Justice for Jeyasre Speaking Tour stop, “and they have us enslaved.”

A new law in California, the Garment Workers Protection Act, will end this practice by making major fashion brands responsible for paying garment workers minimum wage. Previously, when workers filed wage theft claims, the suppliers and factories would be responsible for the wages. But, they didn’t have the money to pay back the workers, so they’d often just close or use other tricks to avoid financial responsibility. This bill will make the people at the top of the supply chain, the brands, responsible for wage theft claims.

The Justice for Jeyasre campaign is also fighting to hold brands accountable for working conditions at their factories. At the Los Angeles Speaking Tour stop, both campaigns used the opportunity to share their strategies with one another and join forces. With nearly 60 people in attendance at the speaking tour’s Los Angeles stop, workers and organizers generously shared their power analysis and stories from their campaigns. Members from the Garment Workers Center, the Western States Regional Joint Board (WSRJB) of Workers United, Remake, Fashion Revolution USA, Workers United 75, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Warehouse Worker Resource Center, and United Students Against Sweatshops spoke about protesting, advocating at the state capitol, and building coalitions to support the bill. 

After years of struggling to get workers their owed wages, these groups focused on brand accountability and won. 

“We fought for the Garment Worker Protection Act for 2 years”, said Daisy Gonzalez, the Lead Member Organizer with the Garment Workers Center, “but winning legislation is just one strategy. We also want to learn about binding agreements. We want our work to be a model to you, and your work to be a model to us as well.”

The Justice for Jeyasre campaign is also fighting to hold brands accountable, but through a set of enforceable and binding agreements between brands, their supplier, and the TTCU. These would include monitoring, remediation, and prevention of gender-based violence and harassment as well as protecting workers’ freedom of association. We know, from Jeyasre’s story, that suppliers create coercive workplaces, rife with sexual harassment and violence to push workers into producing extremely high volumes of clothing at very low wages, and to block them from unionizing. This allows fashion brands to make huge profits. The Justice for Jeyasre campaign puts the responsibility back on brands, who ultimately profit from the low cost and high production of workers in their suppliers’ factories, to end these practices.  

Garment workers in California and India work and organize in different contexts, and therefore build different strategies to win justice. But, when workers and organizers connect those strategies and build global solidarity our campaigns become even stronger.

As Maria Rivera, the Regional Manager from WSRJB said, “Your fight is our fight. We’re always fighting against these gigantic corporations. We have the strength and we have the heart.”

The Justice For Jeyasre speaking tour launched on August 8th at the APALA Convention and is an opportunity for rank and file leaders, staff and members to hear directly from Thivya and the campaign team as they share strategy and demands in their fight with major fast fashion brands producing clothing for a US and European market. 

Click here to visit the Justice for Jeyasre speaking tour website and learn more about how to take action in solidarity with Dalit women garment workers in Tamil Nadu.

Thivya Rakini will share the legacy of Jeyasre Kathiravel, a young Dalit woman and union member who was organizing for better conditions at her workplace and was killed by her supervisor inspiring the Justice for Jeyasre campaign. The campaign is demanding structural changes to the garment supply chain including an end to gender based violence and harassment and freedom of association for garment workers in Tamil Nadu and beyond.

“Young women are the backbone of the fast fashion industry,” said Thivya Rakini. “Through the Justice for Jeyasre campaign and TTCU’s broader organizing strategy, we are advancing a vision for our communities, our economy, and our country. When young women are able to work with dignified conditions and living wages, they will also be able to lead broader change.”  

“We are doing this tour to learn more about organizing efforts coming from the U.S. Like us, we know many are organizing and demanding change in the most difficult environments with centuries of historical oppression. From our experience and theirs, we are hopeful- we see organizing growing more from the South in the U.S. and from the Global South and we want to stand in unity against big corporations who put profit before people” — Thivya Rakini

The tour has already visited major US cities including Tucson, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and more. To request more information please contact GLJ-ILRF Field Director