The University of Minnesota Labor Education Service has begun work on a documentary to chronicle the groundbreaking organizing activities of CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center for Workers United in Struggle, a Minneapolis-based worker center.
Learn more about this project at a free, public discussion on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier St., St. Paul. The session is part of the 2017 meeting of the national Oral History Association.
Labor Education Service Director Monica Bielski Boris and Telecommunications Project Director Howard Kling will be joined by a representative of CTUL to screen video clips and discuss how the documentary will tell workers’ stories.
Starting in 2009, CTUL members and their allies have succeeded in winning union recognition across the Twin Cities’ retail cleaning industry, including stores owned by industry giants like Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Home Depot. Through the efforts of the CTUL, the Twin Cities became the first major metropolitan area where nearly the entire retail janitorial industry is union.
CTUL’s struggle involved numerous events, including a 12-day hunger strike, Black Friday protests, citywide days of action, multiple one-day strikes, a wage theft campaign that recovered $4 million in stolen wages and a responsible contractor initiative eventually signed by Target. These events were covered extensively by LES staff who recorded interviews and captured video of many important moments.
The documentary – and a variety of academic and popular education materials that will accompany it – will illustrate the potential for worker centers to become vehicles for reviving the labor movement in the 21st century.