Organizing Strategy and Practice

Cindy Estrada's Picture

Cindy Estrada

Cindy Estrada is serving her third four-year term as a UAW Vice President and currently heads the Fiat Chrysler, Independent Parts and Suppliers (IPS), Organizing, and Women’s Departments.

She earned a degree in education from the University of Michigan and had planned to become a teacher. After organizing with the United Farm Workers union on an internship, she was drawn to union organizing instead.

Estrada worked as a UAW Region 1A temporary organizer, successfully organizing a number of Parts suppliers. She helped organize workers at Mexican Industries in southwest Detroit in 1995, resulting in one of the UAW’s largest victories among Spanish-speaking manufacturing workers.

Estrada’s organizing ability was recognized by then UAW President Stephen P. Yokich, who appointed Estrada to the UAW International’s organizing staff in 2000.

She was soon appointed to Coordinator of Michigan organizing and ran the Michigan Organizing Center. In 2007, UAW Vice President Terry Thurman appointed her as the Administrative Assistant over the Organizing Department. After Terry Thurman’s retirement UAW President, Ron Gettlefinger appointed Estrada as the Director of the National Organizing Department.

She was first elected UAW Vice President in 2010 and assigned to direct the unions UAW Independents, Parts and Supplier/Competitive Shop Department; Public Sector and Health care servicing department and the UAW Women’s Department. While in that role she was the lead negotiator for over 17,000 UAW workers in the State of Michigan.

Estrada also led negotiations for the Michigan Coalition of State Employee Unions, providing historic agreements protecting health care and establishing vital programs addressing privatization and workplace democracy for over 35,000 state employees.

As director of UAW Independents, Parts and Suppliers/Competitive Shop Department, Estrada proudly honored the reason Walter Reuther urged the departments establishment in 1968: to use the UAW’s parts worker density to establish minimum industry-wide compensation standards in IPS contracts. This resulted in breakthrough agreements in seating and other major auto component part industries.

Four years later, she became the first woman and first Latina to lead the union’s General Motors Department.

The long-time organizer and activist is involved with many labor and community organizations. Estrada is a proud member of UAW Local 174, having worked at Impressions in Taylor, MI. She is the mother of twin 16-year-old sons, stepmother to four, and grandmother of six. She is the widow of the late UAW organizer and retired Administrative Assistant Frank White.