APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborFeb 2011
In This Issue
Las Vegas Workers Protest Station Casinos
APALA Stands with Workers in Wisconsin and Across the Country
APALA Celebrates Major Step Forward for Transportation Security Officers
Las Vegas Workers Protest Station Casinos
Station Casino protest

Las Vegas APALA members joined close to 1000 workers from the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165 (both UNITE HERE affiliates) in a massive rally at Palace Station Hotel & Casino. The hotel is part of the Station Casinos chain, which is the third largest private employer in the Las Vegas area, and is the target of an organizing drive. Workers called on the company to support any new anti-discrimination legislation in Carson City that would make employers liable for discrimination against employees based on national origin. The company has used threats, bribery, and intimidation to keep workers from organizing at its Las Vegas-area properties. After a rally, speeches, and sit-down civil disobedience action, the Metropolitan Police Department arrested 22 protesters.


Latino workers were affected by over 80 percent of Station Casinos' alleged illegal Unfair Labor Practice actions, as the National Labor Relations Board continues its prosecution of the company in the largest case of its kind against a Nevada gaming company. Six of eight of the worker organizers who have been fired by the company are Latino.

Some recent media coverage of the event cites APALA's work: "The Labor Secretary spoke in Las Vegas during the first Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights hearing that was organized by the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) last September.

APALA Las Vegas chapter president Rozita Lee had said the hearing was part of a national campaign to champion workers' rights. She added the group hopes to organize a congressional briefing on the issue.

Photo caption: Casiano Corpus, a casino porter at Palace Station, testified at the Las Vegas APALA workers' rights hearing last fall, giving a beautiful and rousing speech at the Palace Station rally.

Reminder: APALA

2011 convention reminder FINAL 

APALA is proud to host our 11th Biennial Convention, Generations United: Our Jobs, Our Rights, Our Future!, the national gathering of Asian Pacific American workers and students from July 21-24, 2011 at Marriot City Center in Oakland. You can get more details and register online 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, and White House and DoL representatives who will address good jobs, immigration reform, and worker rights.
For more information, please check out our new website.
APALA Thanks Rep. Honda, Welcomes Rep. Chu as new CAPAC Chair


After stepping down from his post as CAPAC Chair for the past seven years, Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15) congratulated Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) as the new Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC).  Prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Chu served as Mayor of Monterey Park, Chair of the California Board of Equalization, and as a member of the California State Assembly.We are proud to note that Rep. Chu is the first Chinese-American woman ever elected to Congress. We also thank Rep. Honda for his ceaseless leadership and work on behalf of the APA community.  


On February 10, APALA representatives including 2nd Vice President Levin Sy attended the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) reception honoring Rep. Chu and new CAPAC members Rep. Hansen Clarke (MI-13) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1). This session of Congress, CAPAC boasts 30 members including 12 AAPIs. 


This fall, APALA will host a congressional briefing on APA worker issues. APALA thanks Rep. Chu for being a stalwart ally of working families and looks forward to continuing to work with her as the new Chair of CAPAC.  

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Luisa at DC WI rallyPlease join me in welcoming Jason Tengco to the APALA Family who recently started as the first Tam Tran Program & Outreach Fellow. Brother Jason joins us after completing an internship with the White House National Economic Council and has strong roots in student activism with experiences organizing with the United States Student Association, Samahang Pilipino & the UCLA Undergraduate Student Government where he was one of thirteen elected representatives representing 25,000 students. His first day in the APALA National Office was Valentine's Day, February, 14, 2011.


Also on Valentine's Day, members of APALA's DC Chapter joined Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of DC for the release of Behind the Kitchen Door, the most comprehensive report ever conducted on the state of the restaurant industry. It was a part of the National Day of Action with actions in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and other cities across the country. APALA looks forward to continuing our partnership with ROC to uplift the struggles and challenges of restaurant workers, especially those from APA and immigrant communities.


Even after a busy couple of weeks, we aren't slowing down. APALA's Executive Director Gregory Cendana is joining members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council and will share the impressive work outlined in the 2010 End of Year Report and share our ambitious goals for 2011. On March 12, APALA's Alameda County Chapter will host the first local worker rights hearing of the year in Oakland, CA. If you are interested in joining us in Oakland, click here.


It's not too late to join us in our fight for social & economic justice. Check out our new website, become an APALA member and be a part of the 2011 Convention.


In unity,

Luisa Blue

APALA National President   

Alameda chapter WI Solidarity
Alameda chapter
APALA Stands with Workers in Wisconsin and Across the Country   

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, the nation's only union of Asian Pacific American workers, stands with the workers under assault in Wisconsin and other states. One out of eight Asian Pacific Americans is a union member, and we call on Wisconsin Gov. Walker and other elected DC chapter WIofficials to create jobs for hardworking Americans, not to repay corporate donors by tearing down middle class jobs. We stand opposed to politicians' efforts to deny teachers, nurses, and firefighters a voice at work by taking away their long-held right to organize and to bargain collectively.


Inspired by the workers in Wisconsin who aim to preserve middle class jobs and vital services for their communities, APALA members have participated in solidarity actions in New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Alameda, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and in Wisconsin itself.



We stand together with the millions of workers, parents, and students who are fighting to keep workplace freedoms. We stand united against the unreasonable politicians who do not bargain in good faith, but instead seek to destroy working families. Attacks on union members are just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of balancing the budget by closing corporate loopholes and pursuing tax-evading companies, politicians like Gov. Walker are trying to pass divisive anti-immigrant bills and cut health care and social safety net programs that Asian Pacific American families rely on.


LA WI solidarity
Los Angeles

Now, more than ever, we must take a stand. Students face rising tuition costs and homeowners increasingly find themselves unable to maintain a roof over their heads.  Asian Pacific Americans who are unemployed remain out of work for longer periods than other Americans, and face greater language barriers to employment.  It's time for our elected leadership to put aside political posturing, stop attacking workers' rights, and work together to create a jobs plan for the future.

APALA Celebrates Major Step Forward for Transportation Security Officers


Earlier this month, John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, announced he would give partial collective bargaining rights to more than 40,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs).  This comes nine years after the Bush administration took them away in 2003, leaving TSOs to deal with unsafe work environments and cases of discrimination. Now, these federal employees will be able to negotiate on many issues including seniority, shift biddings, transfers and more.


American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President John Gage lauded the decision calling it "an important first step that would enhance safety for America's flying public." Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, added in a statement, "Transportation security officers deserve the same rights as firefighters, police and emergency responders to use collective bargaining in their professions to make everyone safer."


APALA celebrates this victory with AFGE and looks forward to working with them to ensure all workers have the right to collectively bargain and get the contracts they deserve.


AFGE currently has more than 12,000 TSA members in 40 local unions across the country. For more information, check out www.tsaunion.com. To read the AFL-CIO Blog Post about this issue, click here.

APALA Chapters Mobilize
Seattle Remembers Chinese Expulsion; DC holds successful membership driveSeattle Chinese Exclusion March

Recently, APALA Seattle Chapter President Tracy Lai participated in a panel discussion and march on the 125th anniversary of Seattle's little known expulsion of Chinese American workers in 1886, which had its roots in the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Back then, immigrants who had fled war and famine in China were confronted with instability, xenophobia and violence through the Pacific Northwest against Chinese Americans, including the murder of Chinese men and forced exclusion of thousands. The Seattle Times recalls:


During the time of the Seattle-area expulsion - which led to 350 Chinese being forced from their homes - three Chinese hop pickers were killed and three others wounded in Issaquah.


Many in Tacoma were forced from their homes and put on a train bound for Portland. In Oregon's Hell's Canyon, on the southeastern edge of Washington state, 31 Chinese men were murdered.


A few years after the expulsion, the Chinese were welcomed back. Their labor was in demand after the Great Seattle Fire in 1889, when the city needed to rebuild.


In honor of the work that the 2011 Chinese Expulsion Remembrance Project did in organizing the event, the King County City Council proclaimed Feb. 7 as Chinese Expulsion Remembrance Day. The event organizers' goal is to foster a wider awareness of the past and provide a better context for understanding immigration and the consequences of unchecked intolerance and present-day xenophobia in the current immigration debate. Hence participants in the march reversed the path that previous generations took, starting at the docks and going through the Chinatown International District's ornate "welcome" gate. For media coverage of the event, check out the Seattle Times (and their photos), International Examiner, or the Northwest Asian Weekly. 


APALA DC Membership 2011DC Chapter Celebrates APA Labor History and Membership

On February 17, the APALA-DC Chapter hosted its Lunar New Year Happy Hour and Annual Membership Drive.  With free food, an Asian labor trivia contest (APALA t-shirts for the winners), a raffle with prizes, great music, and energetic people, it is no wonder why the DC Chapter was able to get 30 members to sign up in one night.  The APALA national office encourages other chapters to follow suit and to host similar events to mingle with new and former APALA members.  Click here to see pictures from the Membership Drive.