Nahima Aguiniga: My Voice as a Woman Heard Inside the Walls of Intel

Yesterday afternoon Nahima Aguiniga and Adriana Orozco de Flores, cafeteria workers at Intel, who are organizing to unionize walked into Intel to tell management their stories as workers deserving of respect, a living wage and a brighter future for their children. Intel recently released a Diversity and Inclusion report, and its most diverse workforce at Intel – its contractors are calling for the company to step up to fair wages for all.

Adriana y Nahima reporting back about their talk with management from Intel.
Adriana Orozco de Flores and Nahima Aguiniga after speaking with Claudine Mangano at Intel said they felt like they were heard.

I was born in Managua, Nicaragua and came to the U.S. at the age of four and I am the second oldest of four kids. This last year has been one of the most difficult for me. My mother died of pulmonary fibrosis and I've been fighting a custody battle for my two children Vincent, 14 and Citlali, 9.

In this same year I have been working at Intel’s café in Santa Clara. Before that I worked for ABM, the janitorial company Intel contracts with. ABM was and still is a union shop. Seventy-eight cafeteria workers who were unionized in the past, however, lost their jobs when Intel switched food service companies. Today is the last day Guckenheimer will be contracting with Intel and as they leave, cafeteria workers wanted to remind Intel management of those 78 people who lost their jobs in the last change.

On Feb. 10thm my co-workers fighting to unionize, and our supporters rallied outside Intel, and it was jaw dropping for me to see all the love and support from perfect strangers who simply believed in the same thing we do. It has not only made me stronger as a person and as a worker, but stronger as a woman and a mother that we get the strength from where we least expect it. To me, all of this is moved forward with the love of our children.

Yesterday's action meant a lot to me because for once my voice as a woman was heard inside the walls of Intel; that I can and will make a change.

Intel is all talk when it comes equality and they forget that, we: food workers, janitors, cooks and other subcontractors exist. They forget that 78% of us are women because we don't count in their own diversity reports.

I personally fight to unionize for the two who give me the strength when I no longer have it, when my days are blue and gray, when I no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel and I simply just want to give up: Vincent and Citlali. They push me hard to keep on fighting and to never give up. My children are the engine and gasoline to what drives me every day. I would do anything to give them a better life than mine.

As a group, we are organizing for a union for our families. Our families are what give us the strength to keep on going. At the same time we want to be respected and treated with dignity, not like second class citizens where because you have an education or a different color badge you are someone better than us. We organized to make a difference with the hopes that we will become the first of many. We want to organize a union so our fellow cafeteria workers at other tech companies get the strength to do the same. Through this whole experience not only have I formed new friendships with my fellow co-workers, but we have become a family. We have grown to love each other and depend on one another, something that a few months ago was not even possible. Yet, in coming together for the same cause, my life and the life of my family has changed in so many ways.

I am no longer weak, I am strong and that's thanks to the support and love that I have found in all the faces of my coworkers and their families. We are fierce! ¡Aquí estamos!

During yesterday's action, I was a nervous wreck because I was worried and scared about how management was going to react and how much support we would get. But, once I saw the group get bigger and full of hope it gave me the strength to speak up. I was overwhelmed, but once the managers came out and actually saw us and wanted to listen I felt respected and felt that they were willing to hear us. Speaking with Claudine Mangano, Adriana and I nearly came to tears and we felt that she really connected with us. We handed over a petition signed by over 40 workers demanding a tech economy that works for all. We left her a photo of the organizing committee and I believe with all my heart that I touched two hearts today and that we made a big impact at Intel. Change will soon come – not only with us at Intel, but with all the tech companies. I for once in my life am very proud of myself. I can hold my head up and say I am someone and I am making a difference.

Group of workers and community supporters before the action
Workers and community supporters before groups walked into Intel to speak to management.

This article is part of the categories: Business  / Community  / Economy  / Technology 
This article is part of the tags: Intel  / Intel Cafeteria workers  / Living wage  / Union workers  / Unite Here 


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