The left-leaning Loach, who has spent his career focusing on the struggles of the poor and working classes of Great Britain, shifts his view-finder to the plight of a union of office-cleaners, invisible in the glittering City of Angels.
Loosely based on a 1990 janitor's strike at Century City, it's seen through the eyes of Maya (Pilar Padilla) a young Latina, who hopes only to find work in the U.S. Through her sister, Rosa (Elpidia Carrillo), she gets a job at an office-cleaning company, whose largely Latino work force labors without benefits for $5.75 hour.
Since many of the workers are undocumented aliens, they live in constant fear of their brutal boss, Perez (George Lopez). Even so, the arrival of union organizer Sam (Adrien Brody) is hardly greeted with elation by the workers, who know how easily they could be fired were they found at a union meeting.
Yet, as the workers debate the risks and rewards of joining the union, Maya finds herself to drawn to the humorous, but intensely dedicated Sam, whose seemingly whimsical tactics prove to be surprisingly effective.
Despite his clear belief in the importance of the union, Loach sensitivity won't allow him to scant the complexities of the lives of his characters, a quality best expressed in Rosa's disturbing final revelation.
The entertainment lawyer's party features cameos by a number of stars, including William Atherton, Ron Perlman, Stephanie Zimbalist, Benicio del Toro, and Tim Roth.