APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborJanuary 2011
In This Issue
Unions Benefit APA Workers
Lifetime Warrior: Jenny Ho
Congratulations to the New Mayors
Announcing the APALA Tam Tran Fellowship
Unions Benefit APA Workers
APA construction worker


This month, the Center for Economic & Policy Research released a report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers". The findings make clear that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) workers enjoy a major wage and benefit advantage when they belong to unions. The report found that unionized AAPI workers earn about 14.3 percent or about $2.50 per hour more than non-unionized AAPI workers with similar characteristics.  Unionized Asian Pacific American workers are also 28 percent more likely to have health insurance and 52 percent more likely to have a retirement plan than non-union workers. Click here for the full report. Also, check out an article on the report that was published in People's World. 

Lifetime Warrior Profile: Jenny Ho
Jenny Ho


Jenny Ho was born in the North side of Chicago in 1983 to Chinese immigrants hailing from Toisan and Guangzhou. She completed her B.A. in International Studies and Political Science at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she was an active member of the Asian Pacific American Coalition.
Following her undergraduate studies, Jenny completed a brief stint as a community organizer/ patient advocate for SEIU. She then pursued her graduate studies at Cornell University's Institute of Public Affairs, where she studied International Development. Jenny's work abroad includes research projects for the CARE Egypt headquarters in Cairo, the Impulse NGO Network of Shillong, India, and the Food and Agricultural Organization  headquarters in Rome. As a graduate student, Jenny had the opportunity to assist Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research of Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, on her nationwide survey of union organizing campaigns, in which collected data was utilized in Jenny's thesis, "Organizing Asian Pacific American (APA) Workers: Characteristics of Union Campaigns with a High Concentration of APA Workers."
After graduate school, she worked as a strategic researcher for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). Currently, she is a labor economist at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Washington D.C. and a rank-and-file member of the United Staff Union.  

To find out more about the Lifetime Warrior program, contact info@apalanet.org.  

NYU Seeking APA Labor Materials for Archives

The Asian/Pacific/Institute of New York University, in partnership with the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, is looking for opportunities to survey the archives of APA labor organizations. For nearly three years, the A/P/A Institute has been involved in an ongoing project to find, survey and publicize the archives of individuals and organizations in the APA community of New York City in the hope of bringing to light the forgotten stories of APAs in the region. We hope that an online database will help to increase awareness of the larger APA community while also helping researchers - academics, journalists, writers, teachers, filmmakers - find overlooked historical resources. We are hoping to include more labor organizations in the survey. (Completed surveys can be found at http://dlibdev.nyu.edu/tamimentapa under 'Collections.') The survey itself is relatively simple and brief. If interested, please contact Laura Chen-Schultz, Deputy Director of the A/P/A Institute for more information at apa.archives@nyu.edu.

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I hope your new year is off to a great start and you were able to get some rest over the holidays-there is much work to be done in 2011 and APALA is diving right in these first couple of weeks. On Tuesday, we joined members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) in a meeting with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). NCAPA had an opportunity to appreciate outgoing CAPAC Chair Representative Mike Honda for his service and dedication on behalf of the Asian Pacific American community. We also had a chance to welcome incoming Chair Representative Judy Chu, who will take leadership of the caucus in the beginning of February.


Following the success and energy from 2010, we will continue our series of local worker's rights hearings in Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle & Washington, DC. APALA continues to provide platforms for Asian Pacific American workers to share their struggles in the workplace and in exercising their right to organize. The hearings will strengthen community and labor partnerships and provide a space to discuss strategies to advance worker's rights at the local, state and federal levels.


This year will also be our 11th Biennial Convention from July 21-24, 2011 at the Marriott City Center in Oakland, CA! This year's theme is Generations United: Our Jobs, Our Rights & Our Future! Following our 2009 Convention in Las Vegas, APALA wants to build on our efforts to engage student activists and young workers who we believe are the future leaders of our labor movement.  We have been at the forefront of this work and believe it is critical to sustaining our fight for social and economic justice.


In unity,

Luisa Blue

APALA National President

Mayors Quan and Lee, CendanaCongratulations to the New Mayors 
APALA welcomes Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland and Mayor Edwin Lee of San Francisco as the first Asian American elected mayors of their respective cities. Both mayors have an interest in public service that came out of their backgrounds as community organizers and activists. Jean Quan, who was a founding member of APALA and one of SEIU's first Asian American organizers, spoke at a recent event in DC about her start as a student activist at UC Berkeley organizing for farmworker rights and the need to stand up in the face of injustice. She was an integral part of the fight for Third World Studies, working in coalition with African American and Latino students to create the first ethnic studies program. Quan's desire to fight for the rights of immigrants and workers began early- her father was a union cook, and she spent her post-college years organizing workers. She became more involved in school politics as a parent who worried about cuts to the music department. Out of a desire to preserve the arts, she was elected a member of the Oakland School Board, and then joined the City Council in 2002. Quan becomes the first Asian American woman to helm a major U.S. city.


Ed Lee, former civil rights attorney and longtime city employee, was unanimously appointed to be mayor of San Francisco by the Board of Supervisors after the previous mayor, Gavin Newsom, was elected to the position of Lieutenant Governor of California. Lee was a well-qualified choice as he had been serving as City Administrator since 2005, and had a long career in city government since 1989 including service as Director of the Human Rights Commission, Director of City Purchasing, and Director of Public Works. Prior to that, he had worked for the Asian Law Caucus defending tenant rights and was involved with organizing a rent strike in the 1970s.

Lee will serve as interim mayor until next January, when the winner of November's mayoral election will take over. He has said he does not plan on running for the position, but has lauded stewardship of the city as a "tremendous, historic opportunity."


At a recent event honoring Mayors Quan and Lee, he stated that he felt like he was standing on the shoulders of giants such as first Asian American Congressman Dalip Singh Saund and former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta. "I am just full of humbleness because I can see how all those sacrifices of their families come together." He stated that the moment for Asian Americans has arrived, and that "government is about opening doors."


More than a decade after the implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, two of the cities with the largest Asian American populations are finally seeing representation at the highest levels of city government. APALA extends an enthusiastic congratulations to Mayors Jean Quan and Ed Lee on their new and historic roles.

Tam TranAnnouncing the APALA Tam Tran Fellowship

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO is seeking a passionate social justice activist for its new fellowship in remembrance of Tam Tran, an undocumented student activist and filmmaker. APALA is excited to be able to sponsor a fellow who
believes in equality, opportunity, and social justice - all values that Tam epitomized. Tam was born in Germany after her parents were forced to flee Vietnam, and came to the U.S. at the age of 6. In her short time, she testified before Congress on the DREAM Act and inspired other students to speak out for their rights. She attended Santa Ana College, and transferred to UCLA where she worked with a network of "underground undergrads" to release a report on undocumented students at UCLA. Tam was pursuing a PhD at
Brown University and produced two films: "Lost and Found" and "Seattle Underground Railroad."

This is a paid, full-time fellowship, and an excellent opportunity for leadership development. You will be working with some of the most respected leaders in the labor movement to promote immigrant, worker, and civil rights. Founded in 1992, APALA is the nation's first and only APA union. The Fellow will work on projects including but not limited to: outreach to youth and student groups, organizing the APALA 2011 national convention, a congressional briefing on Asian Pacific American worker issues, and conducting a membership drive. The Fellow will also handle some administrative duties and provide operations support, working under the supervision of the Associate Director.

The ideal candidate will have previous political or issue campaign experience and enjoy working with a small but nimble team. The fellowship runs a minimum of nine months, with the potential to extend, and comes with a modest stipend. The position is based in
Washington, DC.

* previous Hill, or political or issue campaign experience preferred
* familiarity with Asian Pacific American and labor issues
* comfortable collaborating with a wide range of individuals
* excellent research, writing, and communications skills
* strong attention to detail
* energy, enthusiasm, and a strong desire to learn
* flexibility and willingness to pitch in and help
* ability to handle responsibility and to stay focused

Expected Outcomes of Fellowship
* Increased knowledge and commitment to worker rights issues
* Gain hands-on experience in membership-building, organizing, and event planning
* Enhance skills in the use of research tools and resources
* Having fun and gaining valuable experience working with a supportive and progressive team

How to Apply (Deadline: Jan 30, 2011, 5 pm EST)

First, visit our website (http://www.apalanet.org). Then submit the following : (1) your résumé, (2) a cover letter, and (3) 3 references to [apalajobs@gmail.com]. Email subject shall state "Tam Tran Fellowship". Please no phone calls, faxes or mail in applications.

APALA is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and differently-abled people are strongly encouraged to apply.

Founded in 1992, APALA is the first and only national organization of Asian Pacific American union members to advance worker, immigrant, and civil rights.