Local labor resurgence includes seats on key local boards

San Diego’s resurgent labor movement is taking a more direct and collegial approach to influencing local politics that includes successfully lobbying to have union leaders appointed to key boards and commissions.

The goal is shifting from behind-the-scenes negotiations to having an official seat at the table during debates that affect the region’s economic prospects, a crucial concern to the workers that local unions represent.

Local labor leaders have recently secured seats on boards governing San Diego’s port district, municipal airport, waterfront convention center and housing commission.

“We try to think of the best ways that we can build a stronger middle class,” he said. “How do we do things that benefit not only our members, but the community as a whole?”

— Keith Maddox, EST, Labor Council


“We are no longer invisible.”

— Genoveva Aguilar, SEIU-USWW.

The invisible women at the head of the San Diego Women's March

They are the women no one ever sees, but at last weekend’s Women’s March San Diego, members of the local janitors union were front and center. Also loud, proud and invaluable.

When the massive march kicked off at Waterfront Park last Saturday, the procession was led by women from SEIU-USWW, the union that represents janitors, security officers, airport service workers and other property service workers.

“It was actually one of the most unforgettable moments for me. I will cherish it forever,” janitor Marisol Castañeda said through a translator earlier this week.

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