APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of Labor Winter 2010
In This Issue
Join APALA as a Member
Updates on Obama Appointees
How Health Care Reform Helps APAs
DC Chapter Braves Snowmaggedon
Join APALA as a Member

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Join union members, community leaders and student activists as a member of APALA. APALA members in chapters across the country participate in organizing campaigns, promote civic participation, and educate workers about their rights.

Join APALA and the growing APA workers' rights movement today.   
 Alameda County Strengthens International Solidarity
AC report on Vietnam

The American labor movement owes a great deal to Vietnam and the Vietnamese people for politicizing and inspiring a generation of trade union activists.  A number of these activists participated in a delegation to strengthen international labor solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Vietnam.


The APALA Alameda County Chapter organized a report back on the chapter's participation in a labor delegation entitled "Building Solidarity and Friendship."  A panel comprised of Alameda County Central Labor Council Political Director Josie Camacho, Unite Here Local 2 Organizing Director Tho Do, IBEW Local 595 Business Manager Victor Uno and UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong, spoke to a packed room of close to 150 labor leaders and community allies on the on-going exchange with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor. 


Founding APALA President Kent Wong also discussed his most recent publication "Organizing on Separate Shores" that profiles Vietnamese and Vietnamese American trade unionists.  To purchase a copy of the publication, please contact Andrea Arias at 214-480-4155 x 206 or arias@irle.ucla.edu.

Updates on Obama Appointees

White house

After numerous holds by conservatives in the Senate, President Obama made recess appointments of Craig Becker, a well-respected attorney, and Mark Pearce, longtime labor attorney, to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Becker, a highly qualified attorney with thirty years of labor law experience, was recently filibustered in the US Senate, despite passing the confirmation of the Health Education Labor and Pensions committee. Pearce has practiced union-side labor law his whole career, taught at Cornell University and served on the NYS Board of Industrial Appeals. These two appointments break the logjam that has occurred at the NRLB, which has only had two members on the five-member board for two years, leaving many workers' struggles unresolved.

APALA applauds the President's NLRB appointments as well as the confirmation of M. Patricia Smith as the Labor Department's General Solicitor. Smith previously served as NYS Labor Commissioner, where she worked with immigrant rights organizations and labor unions to ensure that immigrant and worker rights were upheld on the job.  One of her first moves is to institute a crackdown wage and hour violations by companies that misuse employees as general contractors, thereby avoiding paying unemployment and other taxes.

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Dream Act flag

Asian Pacific Americans had a lot to celebrate with the passage of health care reform, the most significant step forward since Medicare.

Not only can APAs look forward to not being kicked off of the insurance rolls for pre-existing conditions, but also the health care reconciliation bill contained significant measures to help college students pay for loans and improves affordability.

Recently APA education activists also had a step forward with labor, community, and student leaders joining together in support of the DREAM Act. Watching the press conference video featuring AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Antonia Cortese, and NEA Vice President Lily Eskelen standing up for America's future leaders reminded me of why I am proud to be a teacher, and proud to be a union member and activist. There are roughly 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from high school every year with nowhere to go. If we do not support these talented youth and allow them the same access to higher education at the same rates as everyone else, we are cutting off their best avenues to success.

Many undocumented students want to go to college, but find that it is either too expensive. Alternately they become disheartened that even if they graduate, without legal status, their future employment options are very limited. The DREAM Act allows hardworking students the opportunity to become full citizens and give back to our country.

National Education Association Vice President Lily Eskelsen said:

Do you know what it means to me and to teachers all over the country to see these amazing students here today, telling us they get it? They're saying: We're not a charity. We're working hard. But tell us that diploma will take us somewhere.

As a teacher, I could not be more proud of the labor movement standing with undocumented students in support of the DREAM Act and jointly seeking tuition equity and civil rights for youth.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." I'm heartened that we have a strong coalition working towards making that dream more real.

In solidarity, 
John Delloro
APALA President

EarthPassagesHow Health Care Reform Helps APAs

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 includes a number of dramatic and sweeping health insurance and Medicare/Medicaid reforms. The major health care reforms that have broader impact include:

Access to Coverage for the Uninsured: An estimated 32 million children and adults who could not afford and/or were denied insurance due to preexisting medical conditions will be able to obtain quality, affordable coverage.

Ends Preexisting Conditions: Insurers can no longer use preexisting conditions to deny coverage to children or to adults.

Allows Young Adults to Remain on Parental Insurance: Young people who cannot afford and do not have access to quality health care coverage can stay on a parent's plan until they reach the age of 26.

Provides Immediate Insurance for the Uninsured: Adults and children who have been uninsured for six months or more due to a pre-existing condition can obtain coverage right away through a special insurance program that will include premium and cost- sharing help for lower-income families.

Expands Medicaid coverage: Increases Medicaid to include those at 133 percent of the federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four. Additionally, it requires states to provide Medicaid coverage to childless adults.

Ends Insurance Company Abuses: Health insurers can no longer apply lifetime limits on the dollar value of health care coverage and cannot cancel a policy when someone gets sick.

The bill also has a plethora of provisions that will directly benefit Asian Pacific Americans. According to APIAHF, key health care provisions that benefit APAs include: $11 billion in funding to community health centers for 2011-2015, tax credits for low- and middle-income individuals to purchase health coverage through newly created health care Exchanges, improved Medicaid funding for the U.S. Territories, and the elimination of the Medicare "doughnut hole." Despite numerous advances in the bill, it unfortunately maintains a five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to gain access to Medicaid benefits.

APALA applauds the enactment of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. For more information on education-specific reforms for APAs, read the White House memo here.

APALA LCLAA Action DC Chapter Braves Snowmaggedon

APALA's DC Chapter has been on the move!  The chapter was undeterred by snow-maggedon, the heaviest snowfall to hit the Washington DC region since 1884, and organized a successful membership drive on February 3, 2010.  Close to 50 union members, community allies and student activists turned out to support the DC chapter.


Chapter members also braved frigid winter conditions to support United Auto Worker (UAW) members.  In a week of action organized by the UAW and the Labor Coalition for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), APALA members distributed fliers at the DC Auto Show to educate participants on the potential impact that the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) closure would have on California's economy. 


The NUMMI plant, a joint project between Toyota and General Motors, located in Fremont, California, is scheduled to close on April 1, 2010.  If the plant shuts down, nearly 5,000 NUMMI jobs would be lost, in addition to an additional 50,000 jobs associated with the plant.  Click here to read a blue ribbon commission report on the potential closure.  Sign a petition to support the UAW campaign.

APEN logo APALA ED Joins APEN's Board of Directors

APALA's Executive Director, Malcolm Amado Uno, recently joined the board of directors for the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN).  Founded in 1993, APEN seeks to empower low-income Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities to achieve environmental and social justice through direct organizing, building a network of API organizations and working in multiracial alliances to affect regional and national social change. 

As a base building organization, APEN strives to build grassroots organizations that will improve the health, well-being and political strength of Asian Pacific Islanders.  This development reflects APALA's long-standing commitment to serve as a bridge between organized labor and the broader Asian Pacific American community.