Miguel Contreras (1952-2005)
The naming of this UC labor program is in recognition of Miguel Contreras, the late head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor from 1996 until his untimely death at age 52 in May 2005. He was one of the nation's most respected Latino leaders. Born into a family of immigrant farm workers, Contreras labored in the fields as a small child and joined Cesar Chavez's union at age 17. Contreras worked on the staff of the United Farm Workers union and later became an organizer with the hotel workers union. In 1994, he became political director of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The first Latino to head the Federation, Contreras cared deeply about working people and fought to ensure that their voices would be heard in civic life.
Miguel Contreras, 1952 - 2005
By Harold Meyerson
LA Weekly, Thursday, May 12, 2005