The Orange County Labor Movement has risen from the ashes, and is now one of the most dynamic Central Labor Councils in the country. The former leader of the Orange County Labor Federation, Tefere Gebre, an African American immigrant, is now the Executive Vice President of the national AFL-CIO. The deep red county of Orange, California, voted for a Democrat for President in 2016, the first time since the Great Depression.
How did this transformation take place? And what lessons does this present to the rest of the U.S. labor movement that witnessed historically union strongholds of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania support Donald Trump for President in 2016?
The symposium will feature:
• Julio Perez, the Executive Director of the Orange County Labor Federation, who has led the most dynamic voter mobilization program in the county, built labor and community alliances, and trained a new generation of social justice leaders.
• Kent Wong and Ana Luz Gonzalez have helped to launch a new Labor Center in Orange County at the UC Irvine Law School, and have worked on innovative research projects documenting the changing demographics, economic inequality and wage theft, emerging immigrant communities, and new opportunities for alliances and policy change.
• Senator Joe Dunn previously served as a Democratic Senator from Orange County, and is now teaching a new Community Scholars class at UC Irvine, bringing together labor and community leaders along with law students and graduate students to advance progressive public policy.
The panel will present a case study on the transformation of Orange County, showcase the report: “Orange County on the Cusp of Change” and discuss the lessons of Orange County for the rest of the labor movement.