By PAUL LAVERACK
EL NUEVO SOL
This feature-length documentary film follows low-wage, mostly immigrant hotel workers in Southern California – members of Unite Here Local 11, the hospitality workers’ union – as they struggle for new contracts with Disney and Hyatt, and as their campaigns intersect with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The film features interviews with both native-born and immigrant workers, as well as with union officials, labor leaders, academics, and intellectuals, as it pieces together a snapshot of today’s US labor movement.
In addition, it compares US unions – which are much weaker than they used to be – with their counterparts in Sweden, home of the world’s strongest labor unions. Workers, students, and prominent figures from Swedish labor and politics reveal how they came to be the most unionized nation on earth, and recount the astonishing victories they stacked up in the 20th century.
In today’s shifted political environment, however, Swedish labor and its political allies describe facing off against forces which are already rolling back the gains made by working people. Interviewees also share how Swedish unions face similar challenges as the US, particularly with respect to immigrant workers and youth disengagement from the labor movement.
How do powerful labor unions change the lives of workers, and society overall? What is the link between unionization and income equality? What is the role of unions in a healthy democracy? Which lessons might Americans take from the Swedish example? And finally, will the Hyatt and Disney workers win fair contracts?
Find out, in this up-close portrait of Los Angeles labor struggles, and vivid exploration of another world – where, as one Swede put it, “nearly every person is a member of a trade union.”
The answers are only 86 minutes away.