Completed Research

Immigrant Workers in Construction: Sharing lessons learned in our unions​


Conference Agenda

Thursday, April 12

8:30 a.m.            Plenary Session Round Table Sessions

                           Robin Baker and Suzanne Teran,

                           Labor Occupational Health Program

                           University of California– Berkeley (LOHP)


9:00 – 10:00      Introduction to the Conference

History and future of immigrants and our unions

  • BCTD National policy
  • Francisco Altamirano – Painters District Council 82  

                           One immigrant worker’s story

  • Robin Baker, LOHP – Reviews the workshops and structure of conference

10:15 – 11:45    Workshops on successful and/or innovative organizing

and training programs that unions have implemented

Addressing Language Needs

• Kristen D’Avolio, Essential Language, Boston

• Tom Gutierrez, Heat, Frost, Insulation Workers Local 5, Southern California

Addressing Cultural Needs

• Daniel Garcia, Roofers, San Jose

• Steve Andrade, UA, San Jose

Presentation by Steve Andrade

Presentation by Daniel Garcia

Building Alliances

• Josue Garcia, Santa Clara Building Trades Council, California

• Jose Oliva, Chicago Interfaith Committee, Illinois

Providing Effective Health and Safety Training

• Tom Kavicky, Carpenters, Chicago

• David Arvayo, Painters, Chicago

Presentation by Tom Kavicky


Working with Day Laborer Programs

  • Eddie Acosta, AFL-CIO, Washington, D.C.
  • Pablo Alvarado, National Day Labor Organizing Network, Los Angeles, CA
  • Victor Narro, UCLA Labor Center

Presentation by Eddie Acosta          Q&A on AFL-CIO’s Immigration Policy

Presentation by Pablo Alvarado

Presentation by Victor Narro

12:00 – 1:15        Lunch with Guest Speaker

• Garrett Brown, Maquilladora Health and Safety Support Network

Presentation Notes from Garrett Brown

1:30 – 3:00        Workshops (Repeated from above)

3:15 – 5:00          Round Table Discussion:  How to Get Support in the Union


Each group will brainstorm the challenges involved in developing and implementing programs for immigrant workers in their unions, then each round table will discuss strategies for overcoming some of these challenges.

5:30 – 7:00          Reception: Exhibitors display tools unions/JATCs can use.

Friday, April 13

8:00 – 9:00          Breakfast with Guest Speaker

Immigrants in the Construction Industry

• Peter Phillips, University of Utah

Presentation by Peter Phillips        Peter Phillips’ Video Presentation Order Form

9:00 – 10:30      Workshops on overcoming the challenges and barriers to

organizing and outreach.

Models for Recruiting and Organizing Immigrant Workers

  • David Gornewicz, Ironworkers, South Carolina
  • Jose Marrero, Carpenters, Minnesota

Developing Leadership

  • Dale Wortham, Harris County Building Trades, Texas
  • Jerry Morales, Laborers, Northern California

From Apprenticeship Programs to the Worksite

  • Henry Avila, UA, Bakersfield
  • Jose Padilla, Roofers, Oakland

Exploring Legal Issues: The Law and Your Union’s Responsibilities

  • Ana Avendano, Counsel, AFL-CIO
  • Dan Smith, Roofers, San Jose

10:45 – 11:45      Round Table Discussions on Next Steps

11:45 – 12:00      Closing Remarks: Jim Platner, CPWR

Population Estimates:  Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2007

The National Conference on Immigrant Workers in Construction allowed workers, researchers, organizers and safety professionals a forum to discuss how best to meet the needs of immigrant workers in the construction industry.

Held in Sacramento, Calif., April 12-13, 2007, this conference used workshops and roundtable sessions to tackle stereotypes, highlight the need for outreach to immigrant workers and develop ideas on how best to reach out to this group of workers.

Conference Report

Recommendations Generated

Additional Resources