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Sun Jun 17, 2018, 04:04 PM

Nashville Painters Aim To Build Immigrant Base

How can building trades unions organize workers in an area where they don’t have much of a foothold? You’ve got to become a fixture in the community, and be in it for the long haul.

That’s the commitment the Painters are making in Nashville, Tennessee, where they just launched the Alianza Laboral (Spanish for “labor alliance”) Worker Resource Center.

Local 456 is small. Most of its 100 members work for contractors with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federal agency that provides electricity and manages water resources throughout the region, or in auto plants or other industrial jobs. The local doesn’t have its own union hall.

But Nashville is a boom town. “You look out over the skyline and you see cranes everywhere,” said shop steward Mary Jo Parker.


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