“We stand on the shoulders of giants, change-makers whose legacy continues to create opportunities:” Q&A with Executive Director of the Orange County Labor Federation Gloria Alvarado

On the last day of of Women’s History Month, we close out our series highlighting trailblazing California women making history in the labor movement with our final feature: Executive Director of the Orange County Labor Federation, Gloria Alvarado!

What are your biggest challenges and accomplishments you’ve faced while in labor?

I believe the biggest challenges I faced as a labor leader have been the lack of inclusion, recognition, and support. These have also represented my largest opportunities resulting in my biggest accomplishments. Every challenge presented the opportunity to create change, and every “NO” was turned into a resounding YES through organizing!

What can we do as a movement to get more women in leadership roles?

As a movement, we need to create opportunities, training, and support for all. We must stand committed to the AFL-CIO recommendations, including encouraging participation, creating value to the voices of all members, offering training and development, creating cohorts/peer groups, creating mentoring programs, creating opportunities, delivering appropriate roles, reducing tokenism, and sustaining commitment. We must lead the diversity, inclusion, and equity movement and commit ourselves to hold each other accountable, “reflect the gender and racial composition of their membership, requiring diversity, and modeling hiring practices for women and people of color” (AFL-CIO, 2005).

What does women’s history month mean to you?

Women’s history month to me means the recognition of the countless unsung heroes that pave the way for us. We stand on the shoulders of giants, change-makers whose legacy continues to create opportunities. Women who have been called controversial or troublemakers, and that accepted the responsibility of creating a better world by uplifting the voices of “workers” and creating a path of success for working families.

What do you see for the future of women in the labor movement?

The future looks strong. Working women and men standing together, truly fighting for respect and dignity for all!