Spanish for Union Organizers
People know I’m qualified to teach Spanish. I have amazing students who’ve written testimonies for me, I have a B.A. in Spanish, a translation certificate, 3 years of experience running my own business teaching group classes and private tutoring, and I previously worked in a K-12 setting. However, not many people know what I did before I become a Spanish teacher.
In college I fell in love with the labor movement. After growing up in a rural Oregon town I moved to Washington D.C. for college. As I struggled with the impending foreclosure of my family’s home, I was surrounded by rich kids discussing their family’s second Caribbean vacation of the year. It didn’t take me long to realize that despite age and race differences, I had a lot more in common with the workers on campus than the other students.
My college experience revolved around organizing drives and contract renegotiations. I was lucky to attend a university with a strong union presence and time and time again I was able to see the power workers wield when they’re an active part of their union.
By 2030, 21% of all workers in the United States will be Latino.
As of 2023, only 8% of Latinos are members of a union.
After my freshman year of college, I interned with Unite Here. As the sole Spanish speaker assigned to our campaign, I took the lead on all organizing conversations that needed to happen in Spanish. I was welcomed into people’s homes and the conversations I had fueled my drive to perfect my Spanish and to continue having organizing conversations. After college, I worked for AFT. I was able to have hundreds of organizing conversations on several campaigns and loved the work I did.
As much as I loved organizing work, I could never go back to being an organizer; I love teaching Spanish too much! However, I want to continue building union power in any way that I can.
I know that I’m uniquely positioned to teach people how to have organizing conversations in Spanish, not just because I’m able to teach Spanish, but because I’ve done it and I understand your work.
Below you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about Spanish for Union Organizers. As a warning, this page has a bit more text than most FAQs.
I’ve written in-depth responses to all of your most common questions because I respect your time and energy. I wanted to give you all the answers up front, so that you could decide whether this course is right for you, your local, or your staff.
Second, I get excited when I talk about my two favorite things put together: teaching Spanish and building worker power. If you’d rather schedule a call to get your questions answered please email me at email@example.com and we can schedule a time.
Are you able to struggle through an organizing conversation in Spanish but when you’re ready to make your ask it falls flat?
This course is open to anyone, but it’s designed for intermediate to advanced Spanish speakers. If you have a lower level of Spanish, group classes or private tutoring might be best for you.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form below if you need help deciding what program will best suite your needs.
This class is for anyone who wants to have organizing conversations. Union organizers, shop stewards, and community organizers are all encouraged to participate.
This is up to you! Classes are capped at 8 students to ensure that everyone gets enough practice and personalized feedback from the instructor. All Spanish for Union Organizers classes are private classes. Therefore, you get to decide who participates in class and how many people you’d like to go through the program at once.
The Spanish for Union Organizers curriculum is designed to help you perfect your organizing conversations. Each week we’ll focus on one piece of an organizing conversation, gradually building towards having full conversations.
We’ll roleplay different scenarios including having initial conversations, moving 3s to 2s, moving 2s to 1s, and training Spanish speaking leaders to have their own organizing conversations.
Each class will be specific to your campaign. You choose the issues, the barriers, and the ask. The idea being that each week you can show up to work and have a more effective conversation on your campaign than you could the week before.
The Spanish for Union Organizers curriculum handouts look a bit different than the handouts for my other classes. The biggest difference being that I won’t provide vocab lists for the course, you will.
The vast majority of our class will be spent having organizing conversations and then giving each other feedback on those conversations. Throughout our conversations I’ll be making a list of the words and phrases we need to know. These will be added to the next week’s handout. This way you’ll learn all the site-specific vocab you need in order to talk with your workers.
The biggest issue I see facing non-native Spanish speaking union organizers is being able to ask the right questions in order to move and inoculate people.
How would you ask: How would your life improve if you had access to better health care? If you could change one thing about your job, what would you change? How do you think management will react when they find out that we filed for a union?
Do you use the conditional? The future? The subjunctive? A perfect tense? Each week I’ll provide a list of questions and sentence frames that can be useful in asking more specific questions. Sometimes these will also be accompanied by a grammar explanation (hello subjunctive).
Group classes start at $4,000 with a maximum of 8 students. Only have 1 person? Individual classes are $1,500.
I have a feeling you already know the answer to this question or you wouldn’t have found the way to my website, that being said I like numbers, so here we go!
According to the Department of Labor, Hispanics are projected to account for 78% of net new workers between 2020 and 2030.
By 2030, 21% of workers will be Hispanic and Hispanics are already dominating certain sectors with: Farming, fishing, and forestry, at 43.0%. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, at 37.9%; Construction and extraction at 35.7%; Food preparation and serving at 27.3%; and Transportation and material moving at 23.9%.
However, as of 2023, only 8% of Hispanic workers were part of a union, that’s a lower percentage than both Black and white workers.
Looking at the stats above, it’s possible that you or your organizers are already being tasked with organizing a workplace where they’re unable to effectively communicate with 1/3 of the workers, and that number is only going to continue to grow. So, the real question becomes, how can you afford to NOT improve you and your staff’s level of Spanish?
The numbers are clear. We can’t build strong unions without including and empowering Spanish speakers. If you can’t have an organizing conversation in Spanish or train Spanish-speaking shop stewards, you can’t be an effective organizer in several sectors of our economy.
Finding good organizers is a huge challenge. We’ve invested lots of time, energy, and money into developing our staff members into good organizers, give them the tools they need to improve their Spanish so that they can continue to build strong unions and make connections with ALL of our workers.
You can email me at email@example.com or you can fill out the contact form below.
Ready to register?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the following contact form so we can begin scheduling your course.
Still have questions? Please get in touch with me and we can discuss what your local’s needs. I look forward to hearing from you soon!