Social Media Can Open Doors to Latino Workers

Social Media Can Open Doors to Latino Workers

New technologies and social media are increasingly important and effective ways to communicate and they can open doors for the labor movement to build stronger relationships with the Latino community. But, says Elianne Ramos, there are several key points to keep in mind when using “tech” to reach Latino workers—the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. workforce—and the community.

In the third of the AFL-CIO’s series of live online discussions on how we build a movement for the future of working people, Ramos, principal and CEO of Speak Hispanic Communications and vice-chair of communications and PR for Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), outlines several of those points, including:

  • Provide language options. Fluency in either Spanish or English does not define Latino identity, and “reaching Latinos” doesn’t mean it must be done exclusively in Spanish. Sometimes it may even make sense to use “Spanglish.”
  • Relationships and the social dynamic are very important. When interacting with Latinos in a digital environment, enabling interpersonal dynamics is key.
  • Mobile is an amazing and amazingly underutilized tool that can deliver great results in reaching all Latino segments. Text messaging can be very powerful.
  • It is important not to over-rely on media/social media alone. All communications efforts should be part of a larger strategic plan that includes online, offline, mobile, traditional media and grassroots outreach.

Here are some of the comments you offered. (See the entire discussion.)


Organizing needs to transcend borders. Tap into the labor battles of Latin America and see how they can or cannot relate to the labor movement in the U.S….be willing to adapt to bilingual content and encourage forums beyond the conventional media structure. Google Hangouts, Twitter Townhalls, etc, this will break the media monopoly.


Mobile web and text messaging are key for getting in touch with many communities, including low-income and certainly Latinos. Not everyone has a smartphone, but many have something that can send and receive texts. Text JOBS to 30644 to see what I mean.

Be sure to mark your calendar for May 29, from 1- 2 p.m. EDT when Harold Meyerson will be online. Meyerson, editor-at-large of The American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, poses this question:

Since unions represent only a sliver of private-sector workers on their jobs, should labor open its rolls to other workers outside a collective bargaining context? Should the focus shift to organizing working people at the community level?

You can go to our discussion page and give us your thoughts now and be sure to come back Wednesday for the live chat.

Your responses to the questions activists, educators, economists and journalists will be asking through June will help us prepare for the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention that will focus on how the labor movement should change and what we can do together to improve the future of all working people.

Mike Hall is a writer for the AFL-CIO Now Blog where this post originally appeared.


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