Inside a South L.A. Union Hall, a Tool for Saving Money—and for Fighting Predatory Payday Lenders

Traditional Lending Circles Get a Modern, Credit-Building Makeover for the City’s Service Workers

To find an old way of saving that is new again, head to the line of mortuaries along Los Angeles’ Washington Boulevard, between Hoover Street and the 110 Freeway. One of those mortuaries has been converted to a union hall for the Service Employees International Union—United Service Workers West.

Inside the union hall and behind the big room used for banquets is a library named for Edward Tchakalian, an Armenian-American labor activist who uncovered a statewide scheme of paying janitors sub-minimum wages for long hours of work within the Ralphs, …