Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has several Asian Pacific Americans in
high-ranking positions. Victor Uno (pictured left) was a
Founding Member of APALA. He was elected in 2002 as the Business Manager for IBEW
Local 595 and was the first mainland Japanese American to attain this position. Previously he had served as President. On the East Coast, Michael Yee (pictured right) has been
Treasurer of Local 3 since 2006. He is
also the Vice President of the NY APALA Chapter. Both were appointed to serve on IBEW's
Committee on Diversity and Full Inclusion at the request of IBEW President
Edward D. Hill. The commission was
formed to grow the union and increase the active participation of more minority
members. Uno and Yee are excellent
examples and leaders of the IBEW's commitment to diversity and Asian Pacific
Did You Know?
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) recently negotiated a contract that includes Id al-Fitr (the conclusion of Ramadan) as a day off. They are the first union to negotiate a Muslim holiday as part of a contract. We salute the RWDSU's progressive and inclusive vision, and encourage all unions to similarly support their diverse memberships.
Our members are fired
up and ready to go and eager to assert APA workers' voices in the workplace and
at the ballot box. The Washington D.C. chapter is focusing on voter registration,
education, mobilization and election protection and coordinating with unions and community groups including Virginia New Majority, Asian
and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. Asian Pacific
Americans (APAs) are rising through union ranks, mobilizing voters, and making
sweeping policy changes.
For example, you
might know about APALA's support for Filipino Veterans Equity and a recent
victory for Filipino WWII veterans, but did you know that APAs were valiant fighters in the U.S. Civil War? Rep.
Mike Honda helped correct historical records by passing a resolution to honor
the APAs who fought to create this country, but who were denied the right to
become U.S. citizens. It is my sincerest
hope that Filipino WWII veterans can be honored in this lifetime, and the
sooner the better. Read on for other
legislative accomplishments this month, including increased funding for Asian
American and Pacific Islander serving colleges and universities.
Keep in touch with us
about your organizing and political campaigns!
We know you're keeping busy, and we'd love to hear from you.
Malcolm Amado Uno
Seattle APALA's GOTV Power
Americans are a vital swing vote in Washington State, and the Seattle chapter
is at the center of the activity. The
local chapter is implementing its political program through a community
coalition, APIA-Vote Washington '08 (WA '08).
They have partnered with Raising Our Asian Representation (ROAR) and
APIA-Vote, and Chinese Information Service Center has provided office space for
the coalition's field organizer, Jared M. Jonson, former Executive Assistant
for the Washington State Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs. His extensive knowledge of APA youth and
communities has contributed greatly to our progress. Through WA '08, Seattle APALA launched an
exciting PSA and poster contest for youth artists to capture the theme of
"Our Voice, Our Democracy: Civic Engagement in
In addition to
promoting voter registration and education, the chapter is focusing on
translating a gubernatorial candidates comparison flyer in conjunction with the
Washington State Labor Council. At this
time, the languages include Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean. Members plan to follow up the flyer mailing
with in-language phone calls. The
chapter is also developing plans for an APA voter contact program focusing on
the 8th Congressional District, as well as coordinating with Labor to Neighbor
and other union efforts.
The significant role
that APA will play at every level of the upcoming elections cannot be stressed
enough. Every vote truly counts,
especially when we recall that the Governor's race in 2004 was decided by less
than 200 votes.
On August 19, 2008, the Wing Luke Asian Museum
unveiled its new Community Dialogues exhibit featuring a history of APA Civic
Engagement and ways to get involved. WA
'08 participated throughout the planning process on themes, oral histories and
activities. (Information provided by
Making College More Affordable
APALA celebrates the
passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R.4137) by the U.S. House on
July 31, 2008.
The bill includes the
historic Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions program. Similar to programs at Historically Black
Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the AAPISI program is designed to provide
greater opportunities and services for underserved college students, including
low-income and APIA students.
program first passed in September 2007 and H.R.4137 will extend it through 2013
with increased funding (up to $30 million per year) and expanded
activities. Now colleges and
universities can access funding for AAPI students for tutoring, research and
data collection, community outreach programs, and partnerships with community
organizations. This legislation will
make it easier and more affordable for APA students and workers to attend
APALA worked with the
APIA community as part of NCAPA and also with the broader labor
community to pass this historic legislation. Matt Finucane of the National Education Association and founding Executive Director of APALA said, "The passage of a permanent serving institution
designation was a great victory for the AAPI community and our leaders on the
Hill and an important sign that Congress is willing to look beyond the model
minority myth and see the diversity and challenges of individual AAPI
Organizing Institute Graduates: Where Are They Now?
Initiated in 1993, the APALA Organizing
Institute is the single most effective program designed to train and inspire a
generation of Asian Pacific American labor activists. From May 2-4, 2008, APALA hosted the largest
Organizing Institute in our history, training close to 50 participants in Los
Angeles, California. You can watch the trainers share their insights on youtube here. APALA is proud to
announce that at least eight of our graduates have joined the labor movement:
Cardenas is interning with SEIU, Local 500 in Baltimore, Maryland
Ellorin was hired by SEIU, Local 1199 as an organizer in New York, New York
Komata interned with UNITE HERE during the summer in the Bay Area
Mikawa interned with the APALA National Office over this past summer in
Nguyen was hired by SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) in New York,
Nguyen interned with the APALA National Office over this past summer in
Oh joined Change To Win as an organizer in Los Angeles, California
Ouano is currently participating in the SEIU WAVE program
We wish you the best in your organizing careers and don't forget to send us news!