Oral Histories

Interview of Luis "Louie" Durán

Union activist with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 member.
Topic:
Latina and Latino History
Labor Movement
Interviewer:
Espino, Virginia
Interviewee:
Duran, Luis
Persons Present:
Duran and Espino.
Place Conducted:
Duran's home in Claremont, 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 Virginia Espino Program Coordinator for Latina and Latino History, UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research B.A., psychology, UC Santa Cruz; Ph.D., history, Arizona State University. Espino prepared for the interview by consulting with labor history experts such as Kent Wong and Ruth Milkman. She also read secondary sources such as L.A. Story: Immigrant Workers and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement by Ruth Milkman, Union in Crisis: The Future of Organized Labor in America by Michael Schiavone and Stronger Together: The Story of SEIU by Donald Stillman. The Historical Los Angeles Times database was consulted along with other newspaper and magazine collections.
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. Duran 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:
8 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Interviewee Retained Copyright
Audio:
Family history--Migrating to California--Ramona Gardens housing project in the 1940s and 1950s--Experience with gang culture--Delinquent behavior during adolescence--Police culture in East Los Angeles during adolescence--Early school experiences--Lincoln Middle School--Wilson High School--Mother’s emotional collapse--Use of public assistance--Zoot Suit/Sailor riots--Father’s violent temper--Domestic violence--Father’s drinking--Father’s anti-union beliefs--Father’s work at the foundry.
Role of Catholicism in the home--The Little Church on the Eastside--Early career goals--Decision to become a probation officer--Influential instructors-- Experience at East Los Angeles College-- Reflection on Abraham Lincoln and the Founding Fathers--Work as a probation officer--Probation work success stories-- Experience with bias on the part of probation superior--The unionization of probation officers--American Federation of County, State, and Municipal Employees (AFCSME)--Role on Local 660’s negotiating team--Local 660 receivership--Becoming a labor leader by default--Role of unions for workers--Labor battles during leadership at Local 660--Deputy probation officer strike--Local 660 membership--Service Employees International Union (SEIU) bargaining policy committee--[Due to recorder malfunction session ends abruptly]
First negotiating experience for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 660--Experience as a member of the board of directors of Local 660-- Experience on the Bargaining Policy Committee--Reflections on the change from belonging to an association to belonging to a union--Susan Grimp--Gil Cedillo--Annelle Grajeda--Los Angeles Times coverage of corruption within the SEIU--United Health Care West conflict with SEIU--SEIU project to consolidate locals--Andy Stern--“Services” vs. “organizing” debate--The evolution of Local 660 into an “activist” local--Gender issues--Qualities of a good negotiator-- Experience negotiating during an economic crisis.
Marriage--Entering the Juvenile Hall system--Watts Riot and the juvenile system--Race and class issues in the juvenile justice system--Juvenile sentencing--Juvenile arrests during Watts Riots--Negotiating family responsibilities and work--Gender divisions in the home--Parenting struggles--Work and alcohol-related illness--Work-related harassment--Retirement--Union action against the Los Angeles County Supervisors--Civil disobedience arrests during solidarity work with Central American activists--Importance of solidarity.