DeAngelo Bester, Worker Center for Racial Justice
DeAngelo Bester is the Executive Director of the Workers Center for Racial Justice. He has worked as both a community and labor organizer for nearly 15 years. He was first introduced to organizing through [---] which spurred his involvement in [---]. DeAngelo has led local, state, and national organizing campaigns that advanced racial justice around issues such as educational equity, preservation and expansion of affordable housing, re-entry, and increasing access to living wage jobs for Black workers. In 2012, DeAngelo left his job with National People's Action (NPA) after nearly six years to start the Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ) and its sister 501c4 organization, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity. He envisions that [---]
Tim Bell, Chicago Workers' Collaborative
Tim Bell is the Executive Director of the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative and has been involved in worker organizing for the past 28 years. He spent the beginning of his career in Chiapas, Mexico participating in community organizing efforts grounded in liberation theology before returning to his home town of Chicago. In Chicago, he facilitated the development of an adult education center at Erie Neighborhood House for immigrants grounded in liberatory pedagogy. His involvement in Chicago's worker movement evolved directly from the worker leaders at Erie House in the late 1990s and has grown to lead the effort to reform the temp industry and he envisions an economy that prioritizes workers’ lives over profit.
Felipe Tendick-Matesanz, Restaurant Opportunities Center-Chicago
Felipe Tendick-Matesanz is a public health scientist and community leader for economic and political change. Felipe's focus for the past decade is building equity for workers within the food system. Felipe is the child of restaurateurs in an immigrant family which had built a strong foundation for his current work. From that experience, he understands the importance of treating workers fairly and advocates to reform the restaurant industry in his role as the director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago. He hopes that the fight for a more equitable restaurant industry will result in more quality jobs with a fair minimum wage, better protections, and more job trainings for workers to advance in their careers.
Ana Guajardo, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
Ana Guajardo is the Executive Director of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos – Immigrant Workers’ Project. She was raised on the southeast side by immigrant parents and has always been deeply involved in the worker rights movement. She first became involved with the United Farm Workers and later with SEIU Local 1 & 3. In 2008, Ana founded Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, and has continued to empower low-wage workers to fight for better working conditions in Chicago’s East Side and Calumet City.
Adam Kader, Arise Chicago
Adam Kader is the Worker Center Director for Arise Chicago. Adam was first introduced to the worker rights’ movement through his parents’ involvement in their respective unions. Since then, he has understood the labor movement to be the engine for broader social change . As part of his undergraduate research on indigenous organizing in Bolivia, he studied with a feminist organization and met with indigenous leaders, including Evo Morales. His graduate work focused on popular education and community organizing in urban immigrant communities. Adam’s academic and personal formation has fueled his commitment for the worker movement and envisions a society in which workers are in control of the decisions that affect their livelihood.
Mark Meinster, Warehouse Workers for Justice
Mark Meinster is Executive Director of Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ), a Chicago-based worker center founded in 2009 to win permanent, living-wage jobs in Chicago’s massive transportation and logistics hub. Mark first got involved with the worker movement through organizing workers at the University of Vermont into the United Electrical Workers union. Through extensive years of organizing experience, he has led several successful campaigns to hold large corporations accountable for labor conditions, including the historic 2008 Republic Windows and Doors sit in that resulted in winning millions of dollars in back pay from the Bank of America, and the first successful strike at a U.S Walmart facility in 2012. Chicago temp workers are central to the supply chains for the world’s largest corporations. Mark believes that these, and all workers hold the power to make history and win a better world.
Analía Rodriguez, Latino Union of Chicago
Analía Rodriguez is Latino Union’s Executive Director. She is an immigrant from Mexico and moved to the U.S at the age of 18 for economic reasons. She was first involved in student organizing in Mexico and then worked at libraries in college. Her first formal organizing job started at Latino Union and has been with the organization on and off for a number of years. As an artist, talented organizer, and mentor, Analía envisions that everyone have the liberty to travel, work, and live in a safe and just world despite their immigration status.
Martin Unzueta, Chicago Community & Workers Rights
Martin Unzueta is the Executive Director of Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights and works primarily with Latin@ immigrant workers in the Chicagoland area. Martin is an immigrant from Mexico City and when he first immigrated here, he was a worker for a print shop and began encountering several injustices in the workplace. There, he became involved with Chicago Typographical Union and was introduced to worker organizing. Martin was unjustly fired from the company while he was organizing a union with other coworkers. This spurred a lawsuit, Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, in which the company retaliated against the workers for trying to unionize and exploited their immigration status which resulted in a degrading decision that divided the working class into two parts – documented and undocumented workers. Martin’s passion for empowering workers is reflective of his own experience as a worker and hopes that all workers, regardless of status, will be honored and protected from further injustices.