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Thursday, April 9 • 11:00am - 12:25pm
TH11.00.06 Labor Activism in Miami – A Global City from the Perspective of Low Wage Workers and Advocates

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Behind Miami’s exterior as a global city is a low wage workforce that provides the services to support this image and endures many challenges: immigration issues, tenuous rights on the job, insufficient wages & wage theft. This colloquy explores Miami area workers’ issues, featuring scholar activists from FIU’s Center for Labor Research & Studies. We highlight issues currently facing the Miami workforce stemming from the prevalence of tourism and service sector employment. Miami has high poverty rates, low wages, a low level of unionization and a huge immigrant population. Tensions exist within the workforce along the immigrant/native and racial lines. The immigrants groups are at different levels of progress, ranging from the unique issues for Haitians to the influence of the Cuban community locally and nationally. Other Latino groups are also present and growing in Miami. Within this environment, against great odds, recent labor victories include: living wage ordinances in Miami-Dade & Broward Counties, Miami Beach & the City of Miami. Unionization is growing in health care and building services. Miami-Dade was the first Florida county to pass a wage theft ordinance that includes strong enforcement mechanisms. Immigrant advocates were successful in ending local police cooperation with ICE around deportation procedures. Current campaigns focus on issues facing taxi workers and plant nursery industry workers. The panel will take up the questions below and others during discussion with session attendees: How can the Miami economy be characterized in terms of dominant industries and workers issues? How were victories accomplished? Who are the supportive activists in the larger community? How do local Miami politics intersect with these issues and the respective organizations? What are some of the most important issues that you think conference attendees should know about and “take away” from being in Miami?


Cynthia ‎ Hernandez

Florida International University
avatar for Bruce Nissen

Bruce Nissen

Florida International University

Andrea Nunez

Florida International University


Louise Simmons, University of Connecticut

Professor of Social Work & Director, UConn Urban Semester Program, University of Connecticut
Social and economic justice

Thursday April 9, 2015 11:00am - 12:25pm EDT
Raphael (2nd floor)