A common cause: in Chicago, agencies are working to unite black and immigrant workers.For Juan Salgado, executive director of Instituto del Progreso Latino, bridging the gap between black and Latino workers means providing the necessary skills to end divisive di·vi·sive
Creating dissension or discord.
di·vi struggles over low-quality jobs. "It's sad that we have companies with open positions and we don't have a training system in place to fulfill their demands," Salgado said.
With that in mind, Salgado has started to work with the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council, a group comprised of labor, business, community, education and government agencies, that seeks to provide workers in black and Latino neighborhoods with the skills necessary for well-paying manufacturing jobs.
Since October 2005, Instituto del Progreso Latino has also run a city-sponsored program called Manufacturing Works, which has matched 383 black and Latino workers with manufacturing companies in a nine-month period that ended on March 31.
Instituto del Progreso Latino's efforts represent one of several new approaches to improving the lot of African-American and Latino workers and, hopefully in the process, relations between the two. A year after a May Day immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. rally, which was largely bereft of black workers' presence, community organizers have begun to initiate dialogue and propose programs that highlight common struggles.
"There is life beyond immigration reform Immigration reform is the common term used in political discussions regarding changes to immigration policy. In a certain sense, reform can be general enough to include promoted, expanded, or open immigration, but in reality discussions of reform often deal with the aspect of ," said Alie Kabba, president of the United African Organization and member of the Faith and Justice Leadership Alliance, a coalition of African-American and Latino organizations. "We need to put together a series of public policy issues and broaden our scope."
The Faith and Justice Leadership Alliance is one of several campaigns started in the past year that has emphasized facilitating conversation between the two communities. So far, labor has been among several topics in dialogues that have also looked at issues of housing, education, immigration and police brutality Police brutality is a term used to describe the excessive use of physical force, assault, verbal attacks, and threats by police officers and other law enforcement officers. The term may also be used to apply to such behavior when used by prison officers. .
Faith and Justice is specifically designed to build a strategic coalition among black and Latino faith-based and immigration advocates. While mostly composed of Latino organizations, the alliance includes Clergy Speaks Interdenominational in·ter·de·nom·i·na·tion·al
Of or involving different religious denominations.
among or involving more than one denomination of the Christian Church
Adj. , an organization that pulls together about 200 Chicago-area churches, the vast majority of them from the black community. "The commonality com·mon·al·i·ty
n. pl. com·mon·al·i·ties
a. The possession, along with another or others, of a certain attribute or set of attributes: a political movement's commonality of purpose. is not just our distresses but our faiths," said the Rev. Albert Tyson III, president of Clergy Speaks Interdenominational. In terms of jobs, Tyson echoed the need to "change mindsets" and look beyond "fights for low-level jobs."
Slightly further along in the outreach process is the John J. Egan Urban Center of DePaul University , which has focused on cross-cultural dialogue in Humboldt Park and Chicago Lawn--working-class communities with large African-American and Latino populations. DePaul University is a private institution of higher education and research in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
"I like to call what we do guerilla social work," said John Zeigler, project director of neighborhood and community partnerships at the center. "We go to church basements and block club meetings and just start talking, and then we try to build capital and capacity."
The center's efforts have yet to bear fruit on labor issues but have inspired collaborations between African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. and Latinos in ethnically mixed schools. Dean Morris, director of Nobel Neighbors, which serves the west Humboldt Park community, said black and Latino students at Orr High School have begun collaborative artistic and leadership projects that focus on unity within the school.
One success for labor in the area was in November when the Chicago Board of Education approved the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council's proposal to open Austin Polytechnical Academy, which is focused on training for high-skilled manufacturing jobs. The council is also working with city colleges and vocational schools to ensure that metalworking students will receive an education that prepares them for National Institute for Metalworking Skills standard credentials CREDENTIALS, international law. The instruments which authorize and establish a public minister in his character with the state or prince to whom they are addressed. If the state or prince receive the minister, he can be received only in the quality attributed to him in his credentials. .
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Dan Swinney, executive director of the council, de-industrialization has taken thousands of entry-level jobs An entry-level job is a job that generally requires little skill and knowledge, and is generally of a low pay. These jobs may require physical strength or some on-site training. Many entry-level jobs are part-time, and do not include employee benefits. from Chicago's minority communities. But there is a labor shortage A Labor shortage is an economic condition in which there are insufficient qualified candidates (employees) to fill the market-place demands for employment at any price. This condition is sometimes referred to by Economists as "an insufficiency in the labor force. for skilled manufacturing jobs that pay more than $60,000 a year due to a generation of specially trained workers on the verge On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) is a play written by Eric Overmyer. It makes extensive use of esoteric language and pop culture references from the late nineteenth century to 1955. of retirement. "Latinos and blacks are fighting for unskilled jobs when there are more than enough skilled positions to go around," he said.
Another group that focuses on worker issues among African Americans and Latinos is Humboldt Park's San Lucas San Lu·cas , Cape
A cape of western Mexico at the southern tip of Baja California extending into the Pacific Ocean. Workers Center, which organizes day labor day labor
Labor hired and paid by the day.
day laborer n. workers. Several labor and immigration advocates said San Lucas' campaigns, such as efforts to pass the Illinois Day Labor and Temporary Services Temporary Services is an artist collective of three people based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. They have been collaborating on art projects, public events, publications, and exhibitions since 1998. Act in 2005, show what workers can accomplish in solidarity.
"San Lucas has been the leader," said Mehrdad Azemun, senior organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "They passed the day labor services act by bringing together African-American and Latino workers and having them negotiate with day labor agencies."
But, according to Mario Johnson, day labor worker and San Lucas board member, the organization has not been immune to common struggles often found within the activist community. He says that the organization has been focusing too much on issues facing immigrants, who now make up an increasing share of the low-wage workforce. "Lately, San Lucas has been working on immigrant rights," he said. "We have a lot of members who are immigrants, and we support them. But you can't focus solely on that. You don't want to cast shadow over everybody else."
But Ari Glazer, director of San Lucas, says she does not consider a campaign involving immigrants differently from any other--on the belief that all workers, immigrant or not, are ultimately fighting for the same cause. "It sounds like we're all divided. But we're all together," she said. "Immigrant workers are concerned with the same worker issues as any other workers."
Finding such common threads among these disparate groups of workers is one of the toughest challenges facing advocates and workers alike, said Tim Bell, executive director of Chicago Workers Collaborative, a group that works mostly with Latino day labor workers. "There is a real issue in terms of jobs, and it takes a lot of education and conscience building to overcome these animosities," he said. "But the potential for collaboration is certainly there."