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Puerto Rico:: SEIU International Latino Caucus Founding Convention

By Carlos Montes

an Juan, Puerto Rico – Enthusiastically chanting, “Sí se puede!” hundreds of Latinos from across the U.S. came together here for the historic founding convention of the SEIU International Latino Caucus, Dec. 9-10. The mission statement of the International Latino Caucus urges organizing for the political and economic power for Latino working class families.

Many of the convention participants helped lead the huge immigrant rights marches this past March and May of 2006, like Jose Artemio Arreola – a janitor from Chicago SEIU Local 73 and a leader of that city's March 10 Coalition.

International Latino Caucus members have been active in their locals fighting for immigration reform and against the war in Iraq. They are leaders in their unions and community. They include health, government, home care and janitorial services workers and staff. Also present were delegations from Puerto Rico’s Union General de Trabajadores and the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Puerto Rico.

The International Latino Caucus general assembly passed important resolutions on the fight for immigration reform in 2007; condemning the killing of labor activists in Colombia; against the ‘free trade agreement’ signed by President Bush in November; in support the struggle in Oaxaca and backing the struggle of Puerto Rican workers against privatization and against the attacks on public services.

The International Latino Caucus also made plans to participate in this year’s May 1 national day of actions for immigrant rights, citizenship campaigns, get-out-the-vote efforts and to build local International Latino Caucus chapters.

Carlos Montes is member of the Latino Committee of SEIU Local 660 and a veteran activist in the Chicano liberation movement.

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