Oral Histories

Interview of Isabel Blancas

Immigrant from Peru. Involved in the Service Employees International Union’s Justice for Janitors campaign.
Series:
Donde Haiga un Trabajador Explotado, Ahí Estaré Yo: Justice for Janitors' Workers, Organizers, and Allies
Topic:
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Interviewer:
Gomez, Andrew
Interviewee:
Blancas, Isabel
Persons Present:
Blancas and Gomez.
Place Conducted:
Local 1877 Union Hall SEIU-USWW in Los Angeles, 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 Andrew Gomez, a Ph.D. student in UCLA’s history department with a specialization in United States working-class history. Gomez prepared for the interviews by reading Tom Waldman’s Not Much Left: The Fate of Liberalism in America, David Halle’s New York and Los Angeles: Politics, Society, and Culture: A Comparative View, Raphael Sonenshein’s Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles, Ruth Milkman’s L.A. story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement, Lydia Savage’s Justice for Janitors in Los Angeles and various archival articles from the Los Angeles Times.
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. Blancas was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a few corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
Length:
1.5 hrs.
Language:
Spanish
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
This series documents the Justice for Janitors movement in Los Angeles from the 1980s to the present day. Justice for Janitors is a labor organization of the Service Employees International Union that has historically sought to improve the working conditions and bargaining power of workers in the janitorial services industry. The movement has taken various forms in different cities, with Los Angeles serving as the largest center of activity. By including interviews with labor organizers, politicians, and rank-and-file members, the series aims to offer a comprehensive picture of the Justice for Janitors movement in Los Angeles. In addition to documenting Justice for Janitors, the series also explores many of the participants' experiences in Central America before immigrating to the U.S. and interviewees' involvement in other facets of the labor movement in the U.S. and Central America. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Beginning to work as a temporary janitor--Impressions of the United States and parallels to urban poverty in Peru--Divisions among Latino workers--Workplace discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and gender--Activity with SEIU and the 1992 strikes--Cesar Olivas and divisions within the union in the mid-90s.