APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of Labor May 2009
In This Issue
Reminder: Convention
Featured Chapter
Employee Free Choice Act Receives Boost from APA Groups
APALA Welcomes Vietnamese Labor Delegation
Reminder: APALA

Convention logo APALA is proud to host our 10th Biennial Convention, Generations United, Organizing for Change, the first national gathering of Asian Pacific American workers and students from July 9-12, 2009 at Bally's Hotel in Las Vegas Nevada. Participants can register on-line at www.apalanet.org.
The program will highlight prominent worker and student solidarity campaigns from around the country, elevate successful strategies used by unions and organizations to organize Asian Pacific Americans, and feature elected officials, labor, community and student leaders who will address the Employee Free Choice Act, the DREAM Act and the Green Collar Economy.
APALA has created a scholarship fund to assist students and young workers to attend the convention.  Interested parties should apply ASAP!  For more information, please visit us online.
Featured Chapter
Liu press event
The Los Angeles chapter hosted its annual fundraiser, "Spring Into Action: Cultivating the Next Generation of Asian Pacific Islander Leaders" on May 2, 2009 at SEIU Local 721. Judy Chu, Vice Chair of the California Board of Equalization and longtime APALA member, served as the keynote speaker for the fundraiser. Judy is currently running for Congress to replace the seat formerly held by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.  If elected, she will become the first APALA member to become a member of Congress.
The funds raised went toward hiring a part time worker to educate the general Asian Pacific Islander community on the Employee Free Choice Act and scholarships to sponsor students and young workers to the APALA National Convention in July.

Labor Stalwarts Gain Recognition

APALA congratulates Naomi Walker who was appointed to the Department of Labor as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor.  Naomi was formerly with the Office of State and Local Affiliates with the AFL-CIO.
Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center and APALA Executive Board Member, was interviewed by APA Compass regarding May Day, also known as International Workers Day, regarding Asian Pacific American workers.  To hear the full interview, please click here.

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This has been a momentous Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as APALA has not simply celebrated past APA contributions but has also actively participated in making history. Since our inception in 1993, the labor activists who formed APALA recognized that the best way for Asian Pacific Americans to fight for social justice here and abroad was by becoming active union members. Few could have anticipated how far APALA has come.

So I am proud to announce that over a dozen national Asian Pacific American organizations have united in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, which will make it easier for Asian Pacific Americans and all workers to form unions. This marks a historic step, and moves us closer to ensuring that more APAs can have respect and dignity on the job.

Just as APALA members have worked closely with partners at the national level, we also are building bridges with international labor leaders. Recently, we welcomed a labor delegation from Vietnam to share best practices, and we look forward to more international collaboration. Truly, the fight for good middle class jobs here and the fight to ensure decent labor standards abroad are one and the same. We must work to raise standards for workers everywhere.

Join us in celebrating the prominent role that APAs play in the labor and civil rights movement at APALA's 10th biennial convention in Las Vegas.
In solidarity,
Malcolm Amado Uno
Executive Director

Employee Free Choice Act Receives Boost from APA Groups
The fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act received a boost from the Asian Pacific American community, artists and the academic community in a sign of the broad range of support enjoyed by the campaign.
APALA initiated efforts to educate and engage the broader Asian Pacific American community on the Employee Free Choice Act.  As a result, over a dozen key national Asian Pacific American organizations, representing a wide range of Asian Pacific American communities, pledged their support for the Employee Free Choice Act in an historic and unified gesture of solidarity.
The national Asian Pacific American organizations that have endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act include Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Hmong National Development (HND), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), National Coalition of Asian Pacific Community Development (National CAPACD), National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), National Korean American Service Education Consortium (NAKASEC), OCA, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
"The Employee Free Choice Act will help Asian Pacific Americans achieve the American Dream by allowing us to fight for fair wages, health care and a voice in the workplace," said Maria Somma, APALA National President.  "Asian Pacific American workers are struggling to keep up in today's economy.  Close to ten percent of Asian Pacific Americans live below the poverty line while CEOs earn 340 times as much as an average worker.  The ability to form or join a labor union provides all workers, and particularly low-wage workers, with a pathway to achieve economic prosperity." 
"OCA understands that the hopes and aspirations of Asian Pacific American workers includes the opportunity to form or join a union," said George Wu, Executive Director of OCA.  "The Employee Free Choice Act will help to repair broken labor laws and place the decision of how to form or join a union into the hands of workers."
"As the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States, the Japanese American Citizens League is proud to stand with the broader civil rights community to support giving all workers the free choice of forming or joining a union," said Floyd Mori, JACL Executive Director.  The Employee Free Choice Act is also supported by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a broad coalition of civil rights organizations.
"Asian Pacific Americans deserve to have a level playing field with employers when they seek the benefits of joining a union," said Matt Finucane, an APALA Executive Board Member from the National Education Association.  "The Employee Free Choice Act ensures the level playing field that was promised when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935."
APALA Welcomes Vietnamese Labor Delegation
VietnameseLabor APALA welcomed a labor delegation from Vietnam on April 17, 2009 in the President's Room at the AFL-CIO.  Arlene Holt-Baker, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO formally welcomed her contemporary from the Vietnam Labor Movement, Nguyen Hoa Binh, Senior Vice President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL), at this reception.
"This historic gathering marks the first formal interaction between an officer of the AFL-CIO and an officer of the Vietnamese General Confederation of Labor," said Maria Somma, APALA National President.  "APALA applauds the AFL-CIO leadership, and Arlene Holt-Baker in particular, for this significant gesture of solidarity with our sisters and brothers from Vietnam."
Other members of the delegation included Chau Nhat Binh, International Department, VGCL, Nguyen Huu Doan, President Hai Zuong Labor Federation and Vu Quang Tho, Provost, Vietnam Trade Union University. 
APALA Joins Global Fight to Prevent Cervical Cancer
Asian Americans at Increased RiskAPAGroups4EFCA

Almost every case of cervical cancer can be prevented through programs that use the Pap test, the HPV test and the HPV vaccine.  Unfortunately, many women around the world don't know about or have access to these tools. As a result, 500,000 women develop cervical cancer and almost 300,000 women die of the disease - every year.
In 2009, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 11,270 new cervical cancer cases and 4,070 deaths in the United States.  Asian-American women are at particular risk.  Vietnamese-American women, for example, are nearly five times as likely to develop cervical cancer as white women, while incidence rates among Korean-American women are twice those of white women.
"We want our members and their families and friends to know that cervical cancer is preventable and to understand how to prevent it," said Maria Somma, APALA National President.  "Furthermore, we will feature additional information on cervical cancer prevention and the Pearl of Wisdom campaign at our upcoming convention, Generations United, Organizing for Change."

To address the problem, APALA has joined the Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer, a united, global effort to raise awareness among women and those who influence their healthcare of the tools now available to prevent this disease.  The campaign promotes the Pearl of Wisdom as the global symbol for cervical cancer prevention.