Case Studies

Strategic Coalitions:
The Fight for Fair Development

Union and immigrant rights advocates march in Los Angeles, c. 1992.

Working L.A. offers readers case studies that highlight the struggle of working people to fully belong and thrive in an unequal city.

Each case study includes an overview, a timeline, links to scholarly research and commentary, and original documents. Cases studies are a platform for further research and exploration, rather than a definitive statement on the subject. The Research Resources page gathers links to other online sources and a longer bibliography for the curious reader. The Media Reports page links to topical collections of articles from the Los Angeles Times and La Opinion.

The Los Angeles labor movement has been most effective when it has embraced the diversity of the city’s working-class population. In the 1990s, local unions made strategic alliances with the city’s immigrant and African American communities, helping to blunt a wave of reactionary politics in California. Unions also helped elect politicians who are today making the state a laboratory for progressive policy.

Despite these victories, L.A. remains an unequal city. The cost of housing is driving many away, while the policies of the federal government target immigrant Angelenos. The warming climate poses a threat that requires solidarity across the globe. As we confront these challenges, the struggles of the past century hold worthwhile lessons.