Yanira Merino was born in El Salvador, she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s at the time of an ongoing war at home. She joined the U.S. labor movement when she and her co-workers organized a union to confront poverty wages, wage theft, discrimination, and unsafe conditions at a shrimp factory where they worked, in Los Angeles. Following that campaign Yanira Merino worked in numerous union organizing campaigns, as well as in immigration rights efforts and Central America solidarity work. Since 2000, she has served as the National Immigration Coordinator for the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA). Ms. Merino has stepped forward as the first woman and first immigrant to hold the Presidency of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) a task that has become crucial for immigrant workers and their families.