Help us fund our labor rights education and advocacy services for low income workers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Telephone: 415-431-7522
Fax: 415-431-4846

Walk-ins are Welcome!

Office Hours:

8:30am to 6:30pm
Monday through Friday
Weekends by Appointment.



(Click on any year's cover below to see our events program and honorees.)



For over 30 years, Instituto Laboral de la Raza has provided counseling and advocacy to low income workers and their families throughout the Bay Area. The Instituto is a non-profit corporation, set up to protect workers' labor rights in the workplace. The Instituto also maintains offices in both San Francisco's Mission District and in Oakland that function as drop-in centers, providing counseling and legal advice.

Instituto Laboral de la Raza was founded on January 2. 1982 by Jose E. Medina and other union workers to combat the economic exploitation, and physical and mental abuse suffered by low income and minority workers at the hands of unscrupulous employers.

Responding to concerns from the immigrant community, the Instituto helped found the Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Services. The Instituto was also a founding member of the Progressive Way and helped to initiate the Centro Del Pueblo at 474 Valencia Street in San Francisco.

The Present

In the year 2012, Instituto Laboral de la Raza provides critical labor services to over 2,000 low income, unorganized workers. Over 1,000 of these workers labored without Union protections in the building and construction trades and in service-related industries. Our goal is educate and stabilize unorganized workers while introducing them to the benefits and protections of Organized Labor. We proudly deliver our support for Community Unionism!


Celebrate 30 Years of the Instituto Laboral de la Raza


Jose E. Medina & Labor leaders found the Instituto Laboral de la Raza. Presented "Latina Women in the Workforce" conference, endorsed by the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. The Conference highlighted the accomplishments of Latina Women and the Problems and issues encountered in their quest for justice, equality and dignity in the working world.

Instituto Laboral de la Raza participated in "The Right to Earn a living in the U.S.: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" with the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute.

The Instituto produced a half hour video "Hispanic Workers and Community Affairs" aired on Public Access Channel 25; the film funded by Foundation for Community Service Television.


Presentation and discussion with the President of Farm Labor Organizing committee, Baldemar Velasquez, hosted by the Instituto.

Reception for the Nicaraguan Labor Delegation held.

Instituto implemented a Sexual Harassment information workshop for Spanish speakers this year.


Legal staff incorporated into the Instituto Laboral de la Raza to provide legal counseling and representation to individuals and groups in the labor related matters.

Instituto Laboral de la Raza's "El Boletin Laboral" first published.

First Latino Labor Day Dinner hosted by the Instituto Laboral de la Raza. The dinner kicked off Labor Day Weekend by honoring guests Teamsters Executive Vice-President Chuck Mack, San Francisco Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Walter Johnson, and Mary Sandoval-Huerta, Former Secretary-Treasurer of the Ship Scalers and Painters Local 1, ILWU.

Instituto Laboral de la Raza joined Coalition for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Instituto sent representatives to join the U.S. delegation at the United Nations Conference on the decade of women, held July 8, 1985.

Instituto Laboral de la Raza expanded services to a satellite office in downtown Oakland to better serve workers living in the East Bay.

Labor Awards dinner at the Sir Francis Drake honoring Oakland's Curt Flood, professional baseball player with the St. Louis Cardinals, who later challenged Baseball's reserve clause, thereby releasing players from indentured servitude with one baseball club. Curt Flood's heroic actions paved the way for free agents throughout professional sports.


Instituto Laboral de la Raza addressed youth employment concerns by arranging speaking engagements at Mission High School and at Wilson High School.

Labor Awards Dinner honors the President of Asian Federation of Workers' George Wong, SEIU Local 535's Louis M. Gray and Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers of America. Senora Huerta was awarded the "Outstanding Labor Leadership Award".

Labor Awards Dinner honoring Teamsters Local 665 President Ernest Yates, Transport Workers Local 250-A President Ray J. Antonio, and American Postal Workers Union member Maryann Medina.

With the support of Mayor Dianne Feinstein, Instituto Laboral de la Raza completes its first Program Year (1989-90) "In Defense of the Working Poor" under a block grant funded through the Mayor's Office of Community Development of the City and County of San Francisco.

As a result of extensive research on the "working" poor done by the Instituto, and a six month study of this population in San Francisco, the United Way choose to target this demographic population in 1991.

The Instituto implements a campaign to better assist clients with their workers' compensation and work place abuse cases after seeing an alarming rise in work related injuries

Lead the Picketing of the North Face clothing outlet. North Face moved overseas, leaving hundreds of working poor factory workers without jobs or benefits.

Myrtle Watube of the South Africa domestic Workers Union used the Instituto's wage and hour guidelines to help establish State workers rights policies under presidency of Nelson Mandela.

Client numbers served now exceed 1,000 per year.

Executive Director Jose E. Medina elected to the Board of Supervisors after 15 years of leadership at Instituto Laboral de la Raza.

Labor Awards Dinner held at Ship Clerk's Union Local 34, honoring Laborers International President Mario De La Torre, AFL-CIO Regional Director Patricia Lee, Operating Engineers Local 3 Business Representative Ed Lieberman, and Ignacio De La Fuente, who serves as both Oakland City Councilman and as an International Representative of Glass Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers Local 164-B.

Awarded Grant through the Department of Public Health to collaborate with the Latino Family Center, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, and La Raza Information Center to serve the needs of working families affected by alcohol and substance abuse.


Awarded Grant through the San Francisco Foundation to collaborate with Arriba Juntos, La Raza Information Center, and Mission Hiring Hall to provide workers rights clinics, job skills training, citizenship and civics education to low income working immigrant families throughout the City of San Francisco.

Labor Awards Dinner at the Irish Cultural Center, honoring SEIU International Vice President Patricia Ford, San Francisco Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Walter Johnson, Owen Maroon, Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, and Jose Medina, Founder of the Instituto Laboral de la Raza.

Labor Awards Dinner
at the Hilton Hotel, with featuring AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney in attendance and Guest of Honor, Special Guest, Actor and Activist Martin Sheen, South Bay AFL-CIO Director Amy Dean, Judy Goff, Secretary Treasurer of the Central Labor Council of Alameda County, and Jim Salinas, Carpenters Local 22 and Member of the SF Planning Commission.

Labor Awards Dinner
at the Irish Cultural Center, honoring Teamsters Local 890 President Franklin L. Gallegos, SEIU Local 1877 President Mike Garcia, San Mateo County Central Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Shelley Kessler and Stan Warren, Secretary-Treasurer of the SF Building and Construction Trades Council. Guest of Honor was Elise Medina, International Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC.

Labor Awards Dinner:
James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters - Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO ­ The Jack Henning Award; Bill A. Lloyd, Senior Advisor to Governor Gray Davis ­ Director of Labor Affairs & Senate Relations ­ La Raza Public Service Award; Lilia Marlen Navarro, UNITE Textile Processors Local 75; Los Bomberos de San Francisco, San Francisco Fire Department, affiliated with San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 ­ Community Service Award.

Labor Awards Dinner:
Linda Chavez-Thompson, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO ­ Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Special Guest; Earl "Marty" Averette, Business Representative, Teamsters Union Local 856, San Mateo County; Roofers Local No. 40, United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties; Maria Leticia Gomez & Luis Echgoyen, Television Anchors, Univision Channel14, KDTV, San Francisco ­ La Raza Media Award.

Labor Awards Dinner:
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ­ Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; United States Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Special Guest and Labor Advocate; Josie Mooney, Executive Director, SEIU Local 790; President, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO ­ Woman of the Year; Laborers' Local 261, Laborers' International Union of North America, AFL-CIO, La Raza Lifetime Community Service Award.

Labor Awards Dinner:
Robert Morales, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 350 and Teamsters Joint Council No. 7; President, Teamsters National and State Hispanic Caucuses ­ Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; Gavin Newsom, Mayor, City and County of San Francisco ­ Special Guest and Recipient of the Santo Patricio Award; Tim Paulson, Executive Director, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO ­ La Raza Political Leadership Award.

Labor Awards Dinner:
Terence M. O'Sullivan, General President, Laborers International of North America - Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; Michael J. McLaughlin, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Union Local 856 - Recipient of the La Raza Bay Area Leadership Award; Honorable Barbara Lee (D-CA), United States Congress, 9th Congressional Dist. - Recipient of the Ron Dellums Congressional Leadership Award; Larry Del Carlo, President, Mission Housing Development Corporation - Recipient of the La Raza Community Leadership Award.

Anna Burger
- General Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - Labor Leader of the Year; Robert Alvarado - Executive Officer, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council - La Raza Building Trades Leadership Award; Joint Council 7 - Northern California Teamsters - La Raza Change to Win Leadership Award; Daniel Kane, Sr. - President, Teamsters Union Local No. 111 - La Raza San Patrico Award; Mike Borstel - President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 101 - La Raza Bay Area Leadership Award.

Labor Awards Dinner:
Joseph T. Hansen - International President, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union - Washington DC - Labor Leader of the Year and Guest of Honor; Honorable Hillary Rodham-Clinton - U.S. Senate, New York - 2008 Presidential Candidate - Congressional Leadership Award; Sal Rosselli - President, SEIU State Council President, SEIU - United Healthcare Workers West Service Employees International Union - La Raza Healthcare Leadership Award; Ronald J. Lind - President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union - Local 5 - La Raza Unity Leadership Award; German Vazquez - Secretary-Treasurer Teamsters Local 901, Puerto Rico - President, Teamsters National Hispanic Caucus - La Raza International Solidarity Award; John Jatoft - California State Director, American Income Life Insurance Company - La Raza Corporate Leadership Award.

Labor Awards Dinner: George L. Miranda
- President, Teamsters Joint Council 16 - Secretary Treasurer, Teamsters Local 210 - 2009 Brother of the Year; Maria Elena Durazo - Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO - 2009 Sister of the Year; Luis V. Gutierrez - United States Congress (D-IL) 4th Congressional District, IL - Congressional Leadership Award; Paul A. Kenny - President, Food & Drug Council, Inc. - Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 630 - La Raza Unity Leadership Award; Jacques Loveall - President, UFCW 8 - Golden State - Vice President, UFCW International Union - Chairman, Loveall Foundation for Children - La Raza Innovative Leadership Award; John J. Gerow - Principal Officer & President, Teamsters, Local 97 - La Raza San Patricio Award

Instituto Laboral de la Raza celebrates 30 years of serving the community. Numbers of unorganized working poor families directly assisted with legal problems now exceed 2,000 per year through its San Francisco and Oakland offices. Total outreach through conferences and workshops reaches 3,000 per year.

Copyright © 2017 Instituto Laboral de la Raza All Rights Reserved.