Rebecca Ruiz recently joined Local 21 as an East Bay Organizer based in Contra Costa. She is already proving herself to be an effective organizer and hard worker, and is busy working on educating members on the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME attack and collected Gold Cards.
She comes from an activist family; she was, and continues to be, very active in the social justice community.
Her first foray in organizing work began after Hurricane Katrina, when she went down there to do community work in New Orleans.
Before joining the labor movement, Rebecca worked in social services, helping people with transitional housing, and providing counseling for people who were on parole. She worked with Horizons Unlimited, where she provided counseling and taught harm reduction, led a girls group in continuation school, and taught safer sex.
She was first introduced to the unions as a SEIU 1021 member. She was the shop steward at her workplace, and her employer retaliated against her during a contract fight. She ended up getting hired by her union, SEIU 1021, to organize non-profits and to do external organizing. She organized adjunct professors at Mills College, amongst other workers.
After working with SEIU 1021 for three years, Rebecca decided to pursue a graduate program in Global Worker’s rights in Pennsylvania. Shortly after, she went Brazil for three months to write about autonomous movements and studied international labor law.
During her spare time, she works with a community organization as a Board Member and Director of Media to stop the criminalization of marginalized peoples; she works with families who have lost people to police violence, or who have been victimized by the police.
Rebecca is passionate about racial justice work and looks to bridge that with her union organizing. “I’m interested in combating racial and gender violence, and considering that Black women are more likely to be unionized than white men, unions need to challenges ourselves into thinking about who the attacks on unions are really targeting.”
Pictured above: Cheryl Leonor (left), Local 21 member from Children and Family Services, and new Local 21 Organizer Rebecca Ruiz (right) snap a selfie.