Oral Histories

Interview of Alberto Ramirez

Community organizer for Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Organizer for the Long Beach Clean Trucks Program and member of the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports.
Series:
Environmental Activism in Los Angeles
Topic:
Social Movements
Environmental Movement
Interviewer:
Collings, Jane
Interviewee:
Ramirez, Alberto
Persons Present:
Ramirez and Collings.
Place Conducted:
The Port Teamster's office in Long Beach, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, interviewer and principal editor, Center for Oral History Research; B.A., Communications, Antioch College; M.A., Communications, University of Iowa; Ph.D., Critical Studies, UCLA. Collings prepared for the interview by reviewing materials on the Clean Trucks Program in both the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and by reviewing materials on the history of activism regarding the ports and goods movement as it pertains to the community of Long Beach.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Ramirez was then given an opportunity to review the transcript but made no corrections or additions.
Length:
3 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
The series documents environmental activism in the Los Angeles area from the 1970s through to the present day. The majority of interviews are with either founders or knowledgeable participants in major regional environmental organizations. Represented groups embody a wide range of issues, including conservation, restoration, environmental justice and toxic waste disposal.
Forms Students for Labor and Economic Justice (SLEJ)at Loyola Marymount University—Produces Dirty Work, a documentary on the labor abuses at LMU—A collaboration between Unite HERE and SLEJ—Organizational structure of SLEJ—LMU students make an effort to be involved in a social justice effort—The problems inherent in organizing undocumented workers—Addresses Teamsters and Turtles group at Polytechnic High School—Differences and similarities between student and community organizing—Lack of knowledge about unions among students—Making a connection between environmental goals and labor rights when speaking to groups—A student overcomes an extreme situation—Identifying leaders among groups of students—The LAANE organizing model—Successful organizing requires a reliable model and use of instincts—Organizes the community to participate in the Clean Trucks Program—The effectiveness of the Numbers Don’t Lie campaign—A successful postcard drive—A rally that convinces a group of truckers not to buy a truck to work at the Port of Long Beach—Differences between L.A. and Long Beach Clean Trucks programs—The mayoral campaign in Long Beach—Attitude in Long Beach toward Teamsters—Demographics of Long Beach—A wide array of modes of outreach to the community.
The founding of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy—The successful LAANE organizing structure—A typical organizing structure—The role of committees as intermediaries between the community and LAANE leadership—Modes of conveying information to community members—Instances where Long Beach city government scheduled community meetings at times when community members cannot easily attend—Diverse reasons why community members participate in the campaigns—Independent drivers want respect for their professionalism and skill—The impact of the TWICs program on the makeup of trucking personnel—Community support in the wake of the accidental death of a driver at the Port of Long Beach—The differences between dying as an independent owner/operator and as an employee under a Teamster contract—The net benefit of the TWICs campaign for the Teamster efforts to organize port drivers—The negative impact of fly-by-night trucking companies on the community—The origins of the Teamsters and Turtles organization—Differences in organizing styles between health and environmental groups and the Teamsters—Hoffa’s decision to pull out of the ANWR project and commit to the environmental movement—Rationale for Teamsters to team up with the environmental movement—Local chapters of Teamsters and Turtles—The lack of a future of the Punta Colonet port project in Baja California.