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Working People's History of New Mexico

Vince Alvarado Oral History Interview

Vince Alvarado is a third generation sheet metal worker. Starting in El Paso TX and traveling to various sites in the West, Alvarado worked on large commercial jobs with his Union.  For many years, Alvarado stood in opposition to Right to Work legislation testifying at the NM State Legislature.  He is currently fighting that battle county by county in New Mexico as Americans for Prosperity money now targets counties to dismantle prevailing wage laws.

Rick A. Martínez

Born in Santa Fe NM, Rick Martinez’ first job was as a mortician at the Berardinelli Funeral Home.  After a few years, Martinez left that job to start working with his father and brothers in a family painting business where they developed contracts at various commercial businesses and with many residences in Santa Fe NM.  The painting business lasted for over 20 years and then Martinez found his real work in neighborhood protection, preservation and appropriate development in the City of Santa Fe.

Morton “Morty” Simon Oral History Interview

Morty Simon’s Labor story starts as a member of the Retail Clerks Union working at Safeway in New Jeresy.  After Simon finished law school at Columbia, he traveled to Southern Colorado to work for San Luis Legal Aid representing the United Farm Workers (UFW). During the next few years, he worked in a legal storefront (Community Law Center) with Law partner, Joan Friedland, and was involved in civil rights and Labor representation cases in New Mexico.  Simon represented Steelworkers Local 890 (the Salt of the Earth Local) as well as the first health care workers Local at St.

Michael E. Vigil Oral History Interview

Born in Santa Fe NM and educated at the University of New Mexico, Michael Vigil  joined with other students to address the civil rights and social and economic justice issues of the 1960s and 70s. He graduated from UNM Law School in 1974 and started work at the Community Law Center in Santa Fe.  Vigil and his partners represented New Mexico community organizations, Labor Unions, La Clinica del Pueblo in Tierra Amarilla NM and other litigants in civil rights issues, particularly in police brutality cases throughout the state.

María Cristina López Oral History Interview

María Cristina López  was born in San Francisco del Oro, a gold mining town in Chihuahua Mexico.  After moving to Juarez, she attended school in El Paso TX.  She attended college in Albuquerque and started her work life as a Lab Tech at Lovelace Clinic.  Moving to Milwuakee WI, she started working and teaching  English as a Second Language ESL with the immigrant and migrant workers’ community, and the Concentrated Employment Program.

Cristóbal "Chris" Chávez Oral History Interview

Chris Chavez’s Union life started as a member of the Mill Hands Union in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. When he returned to the states, he started working at Sierra Electric in Albuquerque NM.  After “salting” the job, he became a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers IBEW Local 611, and Sierra Electric became a Union workplace.

Carol Oppenheimer Oral History Interview

Carol Oppenheimer grew up in a socially conscious family and engaged in her first Labor action with Haitian apple pickers in Western Massachusetts while she attended Smith College.  Oppenheimer was drawn to the community organizing of Saul Alinsky, the folk music of social justice concerns, and civil rights actions of the 1960s. After finishing law school, she started teaching as the first woman on the UT Austin Law faculty.

Carla López Oral History Interview

Having grown up in a ranching family in Tucumari NM, López moved to Santa Fe and started work at the Community Law Center on San Francisco St. in 1973.  During the time she worked at the Center, she developed her paralegal skills on the job and at the UNM Law School. She worked with the law center’s legal team in cases involving civil rights, Labor Unions, police violence, medical malpractice,  water and land issues.  As a member of the National Lawyers Guild, she traveled to Cuba in 1974.  López served on the Santa Fe School Board for 2 terms.

Bill Lang Oral History Interview

Bill Lang shares his long Labor history which began in his family as the son of a Union Electrician.  Lang joined the Carpenters Union in 1955. He provides a personal and social history of the Carpenters and Joiners Union during the second half of the 20th century in New Mexico.  In particular, Lang explains the consolidation of smaller New Mexico Union Locals into the District Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

Ann Rader-Tate Oral History Interivew

Finding her way into the Social Sciences in college, Ann Rader-Tate earned her Masters in 1984 at Colorado State University and launched her career in Counseling. Rader-Tate taught parenting classes in Greeley CO before she moved to Arizona where she lived and worked in Cottonwood AZ and the Verde Valley.  As a Counselor at Yavapai Community College, she taught assertiveness, wellness, and Intro to Psychology.  After moving to Santa Fe, Rader-Tate taught Psychology and Sociology at Santa Fe Community College until she retired.


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