Who We Are

NMASS (National Mobilization Against Sweatshops) is a workers membership organization that was founded by young working people in 1996 in New York City. We have a Workers’ Center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and members and supporters all over the country. Some of us are:

  • Injured workers fighting for our right to compensation and medical benefits
  • Working people from Lower Manhattan suffering health and economic problems because of the government’s discrimination against low-income people following the 9-11 disaster
  • Mothers demanding recognition for the work we do raising kids
  • Garment, restaurant, construction, office and other workers standing up to long work hours and other sweatshop conditions
  • Students, white collar workers, and others feel the system is more and more limiting our choices, downsizing our dreams and channeling our lives.
  • We are people born in this country and we are immigrants from many regions of the world.

Together, as working people, we are taking back the right to control our work, our health, our time and our lives. One central demand that unites is the right to a 40-hour workweek at a living wage for all. This does not mean that we are fighting for everyone to work the same hours or for there to be a cap on hours. Instead, we are demanding control over our time — the right to say “no” to hours beyond a 40-hour workweek and the right to have the hours we put in raising the next generation of workers in our homes compensated as part of that 40-hour workweek. We recognize that working people taking back this kind of control means ending what we call “the sweatshop system.”

The United States today resembles the brutal sweatshop system that existed in the garment industry over a hundred years ago. Financiers and employers are sweating immense wealth out of us without any accountability, using downsizing, subcontracting, outsourcing, and temporary and contingent labor. We are working longer and longer hours, leading to injuries and occupational diseases. Our human rights to medical attention, to compensation, to rest and recovery are increasingly violated. This sweatshop system also fails to compensate the hard work we do outside of our jobs, such as raising children in our homes. It is stealing away our freedom and our lives, turning us into disposable work machines.

In its first few short years NMASS played a leading role in forcing the scandal of sweatshops to the forefront of national and international consciousness. We’re getting people to see that sweatshop conditions exist right here in the United States. Sweatshop conditions, such as long hours have spread to every corner of our economy. We’ve begun to popularize the idea that long hours are the key issue facing U.S. workers. We are organizing in many ways through fighting campaigns and building a new working people’s culture through videos, theatrical productions, music concerts, poetry slams, art shows, social events. We are educating people with presentations, our website, and publications such as Sweatshop Nation.

Join us as an NMASS member today!

Our Board of Directors (2023-2025)

John Antush is a new father and has taught high school for 20 years in NYC. He is a member of the anti displacement committee, Educators Against Displacement, and is participating in Break the Chains and NMASS’ archiving project.
John Antush es padre primerizo y ha enseñado en la escuela secundaria por 20 años en la ciudad de Nueva York. Es miembro del comité anti deslizamiento, Educadores contra el desplazamiento, y participa en Rompamos las cadenas y el proyecto de archivo de NMASS.
As a kid, Juliet Emerson-Colvin, organized with her neighbors to stop a luxury development in California. Juliet learned about the homecare workers’ fight and joined the Jing Fong picket in May 2021. Organizing with NMASS has helped her appreciate the connections between her experiences of displacement and exploitation at work and the super-exploitation faced by the most vulnerable immigrant home attendants and restaurant workers. She is an office worker.
Cuando era niña, Juliet Emerson-Colvin se organizó con sus vecinos para detener un desarrollo de lujo en California. Juliet se enteró de la lucha de los trabajadores de atención domiciliaria y se unió al piquete de Jing Fong en mayo de 2021. Organizar con NMASS la ha ayudado a apreciar las conexiones entre sus experiencias de desplazamiento y explotación en el trabajo y la superexplotación que enfrentan las cuidadoras y trabajadores de restaurantes inmigrantes más vulnerables. Ella trabaja en una oficina. 
Luz Estrella is a home attendant from the Dominican Republic who has worked 24 hour shifts for 11 years. This has profoundly affected her health and family relationships. She is part of the Home Attendants Committee in NMASS. She believes that if 24 hour shifts are eliminated then patients would be better taken care of because home attendants would’ve had a good night’s sleep. 
Luz Estrella es de la República Dominicana y es una cuidadora en el hogar que ha trabajado turnos de 24 horas durante 11 años. Esto ha afectado mucho su salud y sus relaciones familiares. Ella es parte del Comité de Cuidadoras y Cuidadores de NMASS. Ella cree que si se eliminan los turnos de 24 horas, las cuidadoras podrían dormir bien y poder cuidar mejor a sus pacientes.
Elvia Fernandez is Mexican and worked as a home attendant for 16 years, of which she worked 24-hour shifts for 4 years. “We are fighting to abolish 24-hour shifts and to divide them into 12-hour shifts, to pass the SWEAT law, the anti-displacement law and to support our  ‘Ain’t I a Woman?!’ campaign.” 
Elvia Fernández es mexicana y trabajó como cuidadora por 16 años, de los cuales trabajó 4 años turnos de 24 horas. “Estamos luchando para abolir los turnos de 24 horas y que los dividan en turnos de 12, que pase la ley de SUDOR, el anti desplazamiento y apoyar nuestra campaña Acaso no soy mujer.”
Lidia Gotay is Garifuna from Honduras. She has worked as a home care worker for 14 years, working 24-hour shifts the whole time. Lidia is now organizing with other home care workers and women workers to fight to end the racism of these 24-hour shifts.
Lidia Gotay es garífuna de Honduras. Ha trabajado como cuidadora en el hogar por 14 años, trabajando en turnos de 24 horas todo el tiempo. Lidia ahora se está organizando con otras cuidadoras y trabajadoras para acabar con el racismo de estos turnos de 24 horas.
Stephanie Kranes is from the Northeast and works in an office. She is part of the anti-displacement committee. “I want to work with others to strengthen the anti-displacement organizing of NMASS.” 
Stephanie Kranes es del noreste de Estados Unidos y trabaja en una oficina. Ella es parte del comité Anti-desplazamiento. “Quiero trabajar con otros para fortalecer el esfuerzo organizativo de anti-desplazamiento de NMASS.”   
Victoria Lopez Silva is a street vendor from Guerrero, Mexico. She is organizing because “we need to come together to learn from each other to resolve together the problems that we’re facing day to day.” She wants to pass SWEAT and organize against displacement. She came together with others from her building to organize against the lack of repairs and gas. They sued their landlord, and now they have gas and repairs. She also wants to end the 24 hour shifts. 
Victoria López Silva es una vendedora ambulante de Guerrero, México. Está organizando porque “necesitamos unirnos para aprender unos de otros para resolver juntos los problemas que enfrentamos día a día.” Quiere pasar la ley SUDOR y organizar contra el desplazamiento. Con otros de su edificio, se organizaron contra la falta de reparaciones y gas. Demandaron contra el dueño del edificio y ahora tienen gas y han hecho reparaciones. También quiere acabar con los turnos de 24 horas.
Vicki Niu is a tech worker from Oregon. She is a member of the Ain’t I A Woman campaign, organizing to end the racist violence of 24-hour workdays, and is also engaged in the fight against displacement on the MOCA picket line. Vicki hopes to build NMASS’ work of bringing together workers across race, gender, and trade to raise consciousness and fight for control where we work and live.
Vicki Niu es una trabajadora de tecnología de Oregón. Es miembro de la campaña Acaso no soy mujer, que se organiza para poner fin a la violencia racista de las jornadas laborales de 24 horas, y también participa en la lucha contra el desplazamiento en el piquete de MOCA. Vicki espera desarrollar el esfuerzo de NMASS de unir a trabajadores de todas las razas, géneros y oficios para crear conciencia y luchar por el control donde trabajamos y vivimos.
Antonio Queylin is a husband, father and lifelong New Yorker & and LES resident who worked in residential services in Midtown as a doorman. He is on the Anti-displacement campaign but supports all the other efforts by NMASS. “I would like to see more of a partnership with the youth, seniors and workers in the neighborhood as well as other groups in the city to help with our objectives and campaigns.”
Antonio Queylin es un esposo, padre y residente de toda la vida de Nueva York y Loisaida que trabajó en servicios residenciales en Midtown como portero. Está en la campaña contra el desplazamiento, pero apoya los otros proyectos de NMASS. “Me gustaría ver más asociación con los jóvenes, las personas mayores y los trabajadores en el vecindario, así como otros grupos en la ciudad para ayudar con nuestros objetivos y campañas.”
Alvaro Ramirez is Dominican and a home attendant. He is fighting for no more 24 hours and to develop the SWEAT and Ain’t I A Woman campaigns to achieve all the change we want and put an end to wage theft and 24 hours a day. “We need to keep going to be successful in our campaigns.”
Alvaro Ramírez es dominicano y home attendant. Está luchando para no más 24 horas y crecer las campañas de SUDOR y Acaso no soy mujer para lograr todo el cambio que queremos y acabar con el robo de salarios y las 24 horas. “Necesitamos seguir adelante para tener éxito en nuestras campañas.”
Carlos Rodriguez Herrera is a restaurant worker from Oaxaca, Mexico. He is organizing because he faced wage theft and discrimination at the places he worked. ”The only way we can change these conditions is to come together with other workers from different industries because bosses try to pit us workers against each other. It’s very important that we reach out to the new immigrants and other workers to demand equal rights for all workers.” 
Carlos Rodríguez Herrera es de Oaxaca, México y un trabajador de restaurante de Oaxaca. Está organizando porque se ha enfrentado al robo de salario y la discriminación en los lugares donde trabajó. “La única forma en que podemos cambiar estas condiciones es unirnos con otros trabajadores de diferentes industrias porque los jefes intentan que nos peleemos entre nosotros. Es muy importante que nos comuniquemos con los nuevos inmigrantes y otros trabajadores para exigir la igualdad de derechos para todos los trabajadores.” 
Octaviano Vasquez Garcia is a restaurant and delivery worker from Guerrero, Mexico. He is organizing because he faces wage theft. All the places he has worked at since he came to NYC had bosses that weren’t afraid to steal our wages because the law is very weak. That’s why he wants SWEAT to be passed this year. Currently, he is protesting outside his old workplace, Alachi Masala and using it to organize more workers. He is fighting to change conditions. 
Octaviano Vásquz García es  trabajador de restaurante y delivery de Guerrero, México. Está organizando porque enfrenta el robo de salarios. Todos los lugares en los que ha trabajado desde que llegó a Nueva York tenían jefes que no tenían miedo de robarnos los salarios porque la ley es muy débil. Por eso quiere que la ley de SUDOR pase este año. Ahora, está protestando frente a su antiguo lugar de trabajo, Alachi Masala, y usando esto para organizar a más trabajadores. Está luchando para cambiar las condiciones. 
Louise Velez is a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side. She is a caregiver to her grandchildren. She first joined NMASS because of the displacement policies of NYCHA that affected her and her family. She also organizes with home attendants. “I want to continue organizing the community to get involved and unite to stop the luxury development pushed by the City.”
Louise Velez es una residente de Loisaida de toda la vida y cuida a sus nietos. Ella primero vino a NMASS debido a las políticas de desplazamiento de NYCHA que afectó a ella y a su familia. También organiza con otras cuidadoras en el hogar. “Quiero continuar organizando a la comunidad para que se involucre y se una para detener el desarrollo de lujo impulsado por la Ciudad.”