Instructor–Campaign and Organizing Strategies
Organizing Director–UFCW Local 663
Rena is originally from California and is Chinese American by way of Mexico. Her father was a restaurant worker and mother a domestic worker. They performed hard, low waged work and their jobs had no union representation – which meant no health insurance, retirement savings, or anything else. She was a scholarship kid at UCLA when the Justice for Janitors strike took place in Los Angeles in 2000. That fight by immigrant, low wage workers (so much like her parents) to be visible and for a dignified living wage inspired Rena to join the labor movement. Against all odds, workers dared to fight and hope—and they won. It was Rena’s first glimpse of what is possible when workers organize to build power.
After graduating in 2001, Rena became an organizer and has worked in Labor ever since. She started with AFSCME in San Francisco, helping to rebuild a Local over two years. Rena joined SEIU in 2004 after moving to Minnesota and was part of the Property Services Division, organizing thousands of subcontracted food, laundry, and janitorial workers like those that first inspired her. Now with UFCW Local 663, Rena’s goal is to build power for workers to set standards in the retail, meat packing and processing, and food manufacturing industries.