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Centro Records (NYC Hispanic Labor)

NYC Hispanic Labor Document Project

The Centro Records (NYC Hispanic Labor) collection documents the Puerto Rican and Latino legacy in the New York City labor movement. The purpose of these oral histories was to interview and gather historically significant records from Latino labor organizations and Latino labor leaders. The collection includes materials from Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Central and South American workers that have played prominent roles in everything from health care, to service, to manufacturing in New York City. The information was gathered in order to benefit those studying and researching the Latino experience in the labor movement. These audio recordings help share and preserve the struggles and triumphs of the Hispanic labor movement.

Items in this audio collection

Julia Rosario Jorge Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Julia Rosario Jorge. Jorge discusses her family, childhood, and identification with Puerto Rican culture. She describes the process of learning English and attending school. While in Virginia, Jorge's father passed away; she was near the end of high school. She discusses the difficulties and changes that occurred after her father was gone, and how her family worked hard to get by.…

Julia Rosario Jorge Interview, Tape 2

Interview with Julia Rosario Jorge. Jorge continues discussing her career and political history. She recalls the years 1972-1973 and her work with the Legal Assistance Committee and the Community Development Agency (CDA). She discusses transitions and politics at SSEU Local 371, and how she became an officer and was Secretary Treasurer in 1974. In 1976, Jorge ran for election as Vice President…

Juan Laboriel Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Juan Laboriel. Laboriel discusses his first job in New York as a worker in the Garment District. He worked in a coat factory, and discusses politics inside of the workplace. He discusses his personal history, and the adversity that he overcame in order to move to New York. On side B, Laboriel begins by explaining events in 1968. He recalls organizing others working inside of…

Armando Betances Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Armando Betances.

Hotel Employees & Bartender Union, Local 6. Armando Betances served as Secretary Treasurer and Union Official for hotel workers, which he was appointed to in 1954. He was also one of the founding members of the Hispanic Labor Committee which worked in partnership with the Central Labor Committee.

Edwin López Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Edwin López, Mr. López begins by discussing his family life and childhood in East Harlem. He then talks about how he began his career with the union as a "salt", a union organizer who gains information by working in a plant. Mr. López discusses getting the opportunity to spend three weeks , working the picket line with the farm workers of California,with his father, a member …

Maria Portalatin Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Maria Portalatin. Portalatin discusses her background in the labor movement beginning in the 1960's when she was employed as a paraprofessional with the New York City Board of Education. She speaks about her experiences at John Jay College, her involvement with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and the birth of Labor Council of Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). …

Jose La Luz Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Jose La Luz.

Director, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Eastern Region. Jose La Luz is a labor activist and currently serves as the Associate Director of the AFSCME, Leadership Academy. He is active in Puerto Rico and in the United States.

Sedora Villa Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Sedora Villa.

Organizer, Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Local 153. Sedora Villa was born in Cuba and began working at ILGWU and UNITE as a secretary in 1962. She started as a shop steward at Local 153-ILG and was an Executive Board Member. She was involved with the Hispanic Labor Committee and the Women’s Committee of Local 153, OPEIU, which…

Frank Perez Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Frank Perez.

Frank Perez was an organizer who was involved with the United Farm Workers. He helped to establish various programs and fundraising initiatives and scholarships. He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, Local 210.

Ruth Gaines Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Ruth Gaines. Gaines discusses her family and their move to Long Island in 1959. She speaks about how she surpassed what were considered to be the traditional limitations of Latino women at the time in order to achieve her goals and career. She also discusses the National Association of Puerto Rican Social Workers.

Ruth Gaines is the former Regional Coordinator for the NYS Public…

Maria Neira Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Maria Neira. Neira discusses her involvement with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and how she became the leader of teaching consulting program on educational issues in the UFT. She also speaks about the organization of the teachers' union in Puerto Rico, recruitment papers and teacher orientation, and various cultural events and celebrations. Neira describes providing…

Kathy Andrade Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Kathy Andrade. Andrade gives background information on herself, speaks about her grandfather’s work as a political activist and how that influenced her, her migration to the United States, and her experience working in union and non-union manufacturing companies. She also discusses the beginning stages of her work as a union activist and how she connected with the Puerto Rican…

Kathy Andrade Interview, Tape 2

Interview with Kathy Andrade. Andrade talks about how she initially began as a union "colonizer" (an underground union organizer). She talks about the experiences she had working as a colonizer in different non-union manufacturing companies (working in both New York and Florida). She also shares with the interviewer how she became more involved (starting in the early 1950s) in union activities,…

Kathy Andrade Interview, Tape 3

Interview with Kathy Andrade. Andrade talks about her experience being watched by the FBI and briefly takes a historical look at unions, based in the United States. She continues to discuss her involvement in organizing members(in non-union manufacturing facilities) as an ILGWU staff member. She also talks about how she climbed through the ranks as a union member and activist (between the early…

Yolanda Medina-Nelson Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Yolanda Medina-Nelson. Medina-Nelson (born in East Brooklyn) was involved in DC 1707, the Union for Social Service, Head Start, and Home Care workers, beginning in 1988. She helped train women and Latinos to become union representatives. Medina-Nelson discusses her role the Labor Movement and her Education background. She also recommends other individuals for Centro to…

Lois Gray Interview, Tape 1

Interview with Lois Gray. Gray speaks about her introduction to the labor movement, and how in the late 50's she worked with groups to educate labors leaders on the Puerto Rican labor movement, with emphasis on hiring the PR community into steady jobs rather than leaving them to be exploited by faux unions (which was happening), she also worked with Eddie Gonzalez to obthain money from the state…

Edwin López Interview, Tape 2

Edwin López was a trade unionist and a member of the I.B.E.W (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), where he served as the Business Representative and National Political Coordinator. Mr. López was also Chapter Manager and Executive Secretary of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) - New York City Chapter.

This audiotape contains an interview with Edwin López,…

Julia Rosario Jorge Interview, Tape 3

Julia Rosario Jorge has been a labor activist for nearly half a century. In 1969, she became an active member of the NYC Community Development Agency and then an officer of the “Social Service Employees Union Local 371, DC37, AFCME”. Ms. Rosario was elected Vice President of Local 371 in May 1974 and re-elected consecutively to 1989. Ms. Jorge was appointed by Governor Cuomo as Commissioner…