APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of Labor October 2009
In This Issue
Member Spotlight
APALA Organizes 1st National Hearing on APA Worker Rights
President Obama Re-establishes White House Commission on AAPIs
Member Spotlight
Glo award Caoile, with AFSCME President McEntee, receiving the award from actor Alec Mapa and AAJC President Karen Narasaki. (Photo credit: Jon Melegrito)

Gloria T. Caoile, a founding member and former Executive Director of APALA, was recently honored by the Asian American Justice Center with their Distinguished Service Award for her lifelong work in the labor movement and dedication to social justice.

Caoile is a labor rights leader who rose through the ranks of AFSCME to become special assistant to the president. She is a
civic leader in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, promoting APIA involvement in the political process. Even in retirement, Caoile continues to work for her community, organizing relief efforts in the Philippines.
Additionally, Caoile is moderating an upcoming panel at the Smithsonian on Filipino Veterans' Equity.
Did You Know?


Longtime social justice and labor activist Lora Jo Foo has released a new book, Earth Passages. It contains stories based on her childhood paired with photos of nature.

She shares stories about growing up in the inner city ghetto of San Francisco's Chinatown - in poverty, in a housing project, at the age of 11 sewing in a garment sweatshop. In the girl's rare escapes into the woods she discovers a magical, nuturing escape unlike the ghetto where she grew up.

Foo says she wrote the book because "I am the daughter of a garment worker. I wanted to tell the story of the kids of immigrant women whose overworked mothers were absent for most of the waking hours of their young lives. By telling my own story, I tell theirs also."

Carwash Workers Receive Extended Protections in CA

Carwash workers in California cheered when the Governor extended AB 236 until 2014, requiring all carwashes to register with the state, enabling the state to prevent employers who have violated labor laws to continue to do so. It also requires that carwash employers contribute to the "Carwash Worker Restitution Fund," providing workers with a means to collect owed wages. California has the most car washes in the nation, and workers are severely underpaid.

In a period of severe budget crisis for California, the Carwash Worker Law has generated additional funding to the state by allowing agencies to collect unpaid taxes and fines for labor law violations.  In 2007 and 2008 the DLSE assessed $10.6 million in fines to owners in violation. The cost of implementing the law for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is estimated at about $650,000.

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APA workers rts hearing CAWhen President Obama issued an Executive Order restoring the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, it was a victory for all of us.  This action communicated that Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) have a voice within the highest levels of the federal government.  However, we must remain vigilant to ensure the voices of working families within the APA communities are also heard.  Out of all racial groups in the United States, APAs persist as having the largest divide between the very wealthy and the working poor.  As members of the nation's only union for Asian Pacific Americans, we are working to close the wealth disparity gap.
Additionally, one of our own longtime leaders who has fought class inequality, Gloria T. Caoile, exemplifies the type of leader who ensures that our voices are heard. We applaud her receipt of the Distinguished Service Award from the Asian American Justice Center for her years of dedicated service to all working families.
Following her example, we aim to be heard and engage in action.  On November 13, 2009, APALA will be making history by convening the first National Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights Hearing focused on the right to organize and immigration.  APA workers from across the nation will testify in Washington D.C. before a prestigious panel which includes U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (invited), U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, and many others.  Following the hearing, APALA, in partnership with the University of Maryland's Asian American Studies Department and the UCLA Labor Center, plans to release an official report highlighting the specific issues and concerns of Asian Pacific American workers. 
With these collected stories from our communities, we will walk through the many neighborhoods with not only voices loud but also a picket sign in hand.  We hope you will join us on November 13, 2009 as we begin our historic march.
In solidarity,
John Delloro
APALA National President 

APA HearingAPALA Organizes 1st National Hearing on APA Worker Rights
APALA is proud to convene the First National Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights Hearing and the first event focused on Asian Pacific American workers co-hosted by the new leadership of the AFL-CIO on Friday, November 13, 2009 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm in Washington D.C.
What:  First National Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights Hearing
When: Friday, November 13, 2009 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Where: AFL-CIO Headquarters 815 - 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20006

The hearing is modeled after a similar hearing that the APALA-Los Angeles chapter organized in 2002, which resulted in a groundbreaking report on the state of Asian Pacific American workers in California.  It offers the chance to hear from Asian Pacific American workers about the challenges they face in exercising their right to organize - including employer abuse, immigrant exploitation, wage theft and union suppression - and strategies developed to continue the fight for worker solidarity and economic justice.

Invited Panelists Include:
Secretary Hilda Solis, U.S. Department of Labor
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15)
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32)
Arlene Holt-Baker, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO
John Delloro, President, APALA
Wade Henderson, President & CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center
Larry Shinagawa, Director, University of Maryland - Asian American Studies Department
Greg Cendana, President, United States Student Association

To RSVP, or if you have any questions, please email Anna Stuart at astuart@apalanet.org or call the APALA offices at 202-508-3733.
Obama APA Exec OrderPresident Obama Re-establishes White House Commission on AAPIs
President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order re-establishing a federal-wide Initiative to focus on the needs and concerns of the Asian Pacific American communities and reaffirmed his commitment to the community on October 14, 2009 at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

"With his actions, President Obama has reaffirmed the administration's commitment to diversity and inclusion" said John Delloro, APALA National President.  "An Executive Order restoring the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is a positive step to ensure that all Asian Pacific Americans have a voice and advocate within the federal government."

Under the prior administration, the White House Initiative was narrowly focused on providing support to Asian Pacific American small business owners.  However, APALA believes that the mission of the Initiative should reflect a mandate that reflects the diversity that exists within the broader community.

"We look forward to working with the administration to ensure that workers' rights are integrated into the vision, mission and operation of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders," said Malcolm Amado Uno, APALA Executive Director.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will be housed within the Department of Education, where Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will co-chair the commission.
Hawaii ILWU Wins at Court

Four years after voting to form a union with the ILWU local 142, workers at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Hawaii are finally on their way to having a contract. After years of management obstruction, delay, and intimidation that took the form of hiring a new management company, firing the managers and staff, an administrative judge ruled that Pacific Beach was guilty of 15 of 16 National Labor Relations Board charges against them. 

The judge's favorable ruling included the following provisions:

  • The hotel has to re-recognize the union and begin negotiations.
  • All fired negotiating committee members have to be rehired with backpay.
  • The increase of housekeepers' workload by 2 rooms per day has to be reversed, with backpay for those affected.
  • Hotel has to reimburse the union for all its expenses involved in preparing for and conducting negotiations for 2 years -- plus pay the wages of rank and file negotiators for the time they spent in negotiations during this period.
  • The hotel has to promise never to do any of this again.
  • The hotel manager has to convene all the workers, in shift meetings, on the clock, to read this decision aloud to the employees, with an NLRB agent present to answer questions.
Although the ruling does not mean that the workers have a contract, mandating that the company actually bargain in good faith with the local is an excellent first step toward getting the worker a fair and just contract. According to a recent article, a longtime NLRB worker said, "It's one of the most outrageous cases that I've ever seen." This win at court should prove to be the start of genuine rights at work for the Pacific Beach workers.