PARTICIPANTS

Tom Snyder

We didn‘t cross paths with Tom till October of 2003, during the Immigrant Worker Freedom Rides. Tom worked for HERE, the Hotel & Restaurant employees union and the main engine behind the Freedom Rides. We had heard about HERE and its President, John Wilhelm, as another pro-immigrant force within the AFL-CIO, but now HERE and Tom were getting sucked in to a policy fight in D.C.

It was a high stakes moment-- Kennedy‘s bill was being sabotaged by the AFL-CIO while the partisan hijinks of the election year were looming-- but Tom and HERE had just pulled off the biggest immigrant rights mobilization the country had ever seen. As Tom found out what the DC advocates had been up to, he lifted the curtain for us on how the AFL-CIO really operates. Expectations that HERE could come up with a quick fix were misplaced, but Tom‘s plan proved much more effective.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship, so to speak. Tom and HERE evolved into a major force for CIR in Washington. Tom joined the board of directors of the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR), also known as CCIR/NAOC or New American Opportunity Campaign is a non-profit immigrant rights advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.

These days Tom is Chief of Staff for UNITE/HERE President John Wilhelm. It‘s been a very tumultuous few years in the labor movement, but Tom is still working to organize immigrant workers, and advocate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

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