Portland Premiere of Made in L.A.
Enlace and Global Exchange/Portland Sweatfree Campaign sponsored the Portland Premiere of Made in L.A. on Thursday, November 15, 2007, at Musician's Union Hall.
The screening celebrated the Portland Sweatfree Campaign’s victorious passage of the Sweatfree Resolution and Enlace’s transnational worker organizing project. Made in L.A. follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. Made in L.A. is a story about the power of unity and the courage it takes to find your voice.
Rally for a Sweatfree Portland
On February 19th, approximately 200 union members, community leaders, students, and concerned Portlanders rallied to encourage City Council to pass a sweatfree ordinance. Speakers included local labor leaders such as the VP of the Portland Fire Fighters Association, Oregon’s Labor Commissioner and sweatshop workers from Colombia and India. Ten different media outlets reported on the rally ncluding the Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and El Hispanic News. See the resulting media coverage.
Brief bios of the rally speakers:
• Gloria Gonzalez has been active the labor movement in El Salvador and United States for more than 30 years. She organized sweatshop factories in El Salvador and currently organizes hotel workers for HERE Local 9 in Portland.
• Ed Hall has been a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters for over 29 years, a veteran of the Portland Fire Bureau for 25 years, and active with Portland Jobs with Justice for over 12 years. He is Vice President of the Portland Fire Fighters Association and has been active in the environmental movement for his entire adult life.
• Kotagarahalli Ramaiah Jayaram (nickname Jayaram) is an organizer for the Garment and Textile Workers’ Union in Banglalore, India. Jayaram has worked in garment factories since he was a teenager. In 2000 Jayaram tried to organize a union at his factory and was arrested under false charges.
• Betty Fuentes is the President of the union at a Dole-owned cut flower plantation in Colombia. Betty and her co-workers have led a courageous fight to improve working conditions at their plantations for rights such as paid overtime, gender equity in hiring, and lowering the quotas.
• Dan Gardner was first elected Oregon’s labor commissioner in May 2002 and was re-elected in May 2006. Dan served as a State Representative for 6 years and was unanimously elected House Democratic Leader in 2000. Dan is also a third-generation, journeyman electrician and worked as an electrician for 28 years.
Window Display at In Other Words Bookstore
Portland Movie Premiere: Maquilapolis: City of Factories
On February 1st, Global Exchange's Portland Sweatfree Campaign hosted the Portland premiere of the movie, "Maquilapolis: City of Factories". The movie explores the lives of female sweatshop workers in Tijuana, Mexico and their struggle against the multinational corporations that set up a toxic waste dump in their communities. Global Exchange is an organizational partner and part of the community outreach campaign for the documentary. Over 80 people attended the screening in Portland. At the screening, attendees enjoyed free food, bought fair trade products, heard an overview of the Portland Sweatfree Campaign and listened to the testimony of a rank and file letter carrier on how the struggle against sweatshops is part of the struggle of all rank and file workers. Many attendees at the premiere screening in Portland committed to taking the film back to their communities and organizations to continue educational outreach.
Town Hall Discussions
In January and February, the Campaign participated in Town Hall discussions with Commissioner Sam Adams to show support for a sweatfree Portland. Together neighbors sent a message that we want city purchases to support city values -- taxpayer dollars should support labor standards and not sweatshops.
House Party in Support of a Sweatfree City
On December 15th, an intimate gathering of Global Exchange and Sweatfree PDX supporters gathered at the home of Linda and Ralph Schmoldt to learn more about the Portland Sweatfree Campaign and how they can be more involved. Global Exchange co-founder and renowned peace and justice activist, Medea Benjamin, gave an inspiring talk on her protests against the Nike Headquarters in Portland to pressure the company to clean up its dirty labor practices. She also mentioned how she helped expose the problem of indentured servitude among garment workers in the US territory of Saipan (the Marianas Islands), which led to a billion-dollar lawsuit against 17 US retailers. Furthermore, she recounted how last year, a broad-base San Francisco coalition passed one of the strongest sweatfree ordinances in the nation. Now, she said, it is Portland's turn. Campaign coordinator, Deborah Schwartz gave an overview of the Portland campaign underway, the details of the ordinance, and ways in which people can become involved. House party attendees also bought fair trade products at a silent auction and raised approximately $1500 to keep the campaign going strong.
On Friday, September 15th the Portland Sweatfree Coalition kicked off the sweatfree city campaign by hosting former sweatshop worker, Chie Abad, at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Chie worked for six years as a garment worker in Saipan and helped lead the sweatfree campaign in San Francisco to pass an ordinance that is universal in scope and provides money for enforcement. She shared her story about her life as sweatshop worker, recounted San Francisco’s victorious passage of a sweatfree ordinance, and talked about why it essential for cities like Portland to stop government purchasing from sweatshops.
Photos from the event: