APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborJanuary 2012
In This Issue
APALA Fights Right to Work in IN
Victor Uno becomes EWMC President
New APALA Staff
AAPIs Want to Work!
APALA chapters march into 2012
APALA fights Right to Work in Indiana
DC chapter IN phonebank
As Republican legislators and the Governor in Indiana rammed through a "right to work" bill, all of labor, including APALA joined in the effort to prevent the bill's passage, which would greatly decrease the power of rank and file workers to form unions. Because one party controls the governorship, the House, and the Senate, it has been an uphill fight, and GOP leaders passed and signed the bill today. But polling shows that only a third of Hoosiers support the bill, and a whopping 69 percent say that the legislature should slow down and allow more time for public debate. An overwhelming 71 percent of voters say that the public should get to vote on the controversial legislation. 

Even some Republicans remain opposed. Republican Senator Brent Waltz of Indianapolis, who was the lone dissenting vote, said: "The more I hear about right to work the less convinced I am that it will create any meaningful amount of jobs in Indiana." APALA will continue to update its members on this and other state battles.    
Victor Uno becomes EWMC President 

APALA leader Victor Uno, business manager for IBEW 595, was recently elected President of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus at its annual conference. Uno previously served as Vice President of the EWMC and succeeded outgoing President, Sister Robbie Sparks, who retired after 45 years in labor. The conference, held in Oakland, CA, featured a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. APALA salutes the leadership of Bobbie Sparks, Victor Uno, and the men and woman of the IBEW.

New APALA Staff

Please give a hearty welcome to APALA's new Member and Chapter Coordinator, Diana Bui. Diana previously worked at the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), Project Motivate, and Higher Opportunity Program for Education. She graduated from UCLA. Recently she gave moving testimony on nail salon workers at a White House Briefing on AAPI Women and Girls. She serves on the board of the DC chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.   

AFL-CIO MLK Remembrance

APALA members joined more than 550 activists at the AFL-CIO Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance from January 12-15, 2012 in Detroit, MI. The weekend was full of educational workshops, community service & inspiring remarks from many community and labor leaders. Participants left with an understanding that so much was at stake but when we work together, many things are possible. There was a renewed sense of hope to ensure MLK's dream was a reality and fire of passion for the work ahead-in 2012 and beyond. UAW President Bob King said it best, "We can make America great again. It takes you & I being committed to aggressive, relentless, sustained non-violent action."  

USCIS Offers 1st Chinese language Meeting

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Public Engagement will host its first-ever national Chinese-language public engagement on Feb. 16 from 10:30am - 12:00pm PST at the San Francisco Field Office. This engagement is the first in a series called Jiao Liu-meaning "engagement" in Chinese. For more information: www.uscis.gov/jiaoliu.


The theme of USCIS's Feb. 16 session will be "The Naturalization Process: Becoming a United States Citizen." USCIS officials and subject-matter experts fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese will help host the event. 


Participants may join in person, via 1-800-475-8388 (Passcode Jiao Liu), or via live-stream website. Fliers and informational videos are available in both English and Chinese.For more info, email  Maria.Pastrana@dhs.gov. 

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Dragon lunar nyc 2012 

Happy New Year! While we know 2012 will be met with many challenges, it also marks a historical milestone for our organization.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it best, "Solidarity has always been essential in our movement-but never more than now. Sisters and brothers in one state will be fighting right-to-work for less proposals; in the next state over, they'll be fighting for a Made in America law. Building trades workers may face attacks on prevailing wages, while public employees are threatened with layoffs and transportation and manufacturing workers demand green energy jobs in this country."


There are also many efforts to roll back the voter protection & voting rights laws that have allowed many to share their voice in democracy-in more than 30 states across the country there is state legislation attacking the rights of immigrants, women, communities of color, students & so many more. In this critical election year, APALA is going to stand up and fight to ensure Asian Pacific Americans are registered, educated, mobilized and turned out to the polls through our Every Vote Counts program.


Despite the upcoming challenges, APALA is We are excited to announce that we will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary and the kickoff of the APALA Education Fund on Thursday, April 26, 2012 from 6-8pm at the AFL-CIO Gompers Room in Washington, DC. Save the date & be on the lookout for additional information.


As we gather 20 years later, we celebrate our accomplishments while advancing plans on how to continue to build our work into the future. APALA is at the forefront of strengthening community and labor partnerships, coordinating APA civic engagement and developing the next generation of organizers & activists dedicated to advancing social and economic justice. Start off your new year the right way and be a part of this historical milestone by joining APALA today!  


Without you and your support, we would not have made it this far. And it is only with you, that we can have another 20 years advancing social & economic justice.   


In solidarity,


Johanna Hester

APALA National President

AAPIs Want to Work! Action Alert for UI Extensions    

EarthPassagesLast year, Congress punted on passing a fully funded bill to extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to millions of jobseekers.  APALA launched a campaign called AAPIs Want to Work, and got 40 national organizations to sign on in support of job creation bills. In November 2011, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund held the first-ever Congressional briefing on Asian American and Pacific Islander unemployment to uplift the specific challenges our community has - particularly since AAPIs who become unemployed remain unemployed for longer than other ethnic groups (according to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.) Because Congress only passed a short-term extension set to expire in February 2012, unemployed Americans are seeking a new bill for the rest of the year, but certain members of Congress are trying to use the bill to penalize jobseekers.  


According to NELP, the House H.R. 3630 proposals would:

    * Slash federal UI by more than half in the highest unemployment states

    * Allow mandatory drug testing of unemployment insurance claimants, stigmatizing jobless workers

    * Make jobless workers pay for their reemployment services

    * Deny benefits to those not fortunate enough to finish high school or GED

    * Let states reduce benefits and divert unemployment benefit funds to other uses

At a time when so many AAPI workers and union members are looking for work and trying to pay the bills, it seems cruel to slash and deny benefits. You can add your voice to the thousands who object to HR 3630 by signing a petition, or calling your member of Congress at 888-245-3381. To voice your support for the America Wants to Work campaign, you can join the petition here.
NYC APALA lunar 2012 paradeAPALA Chapters March into 2012   

APALA chapters across the country have been building on last year's momentum and moving it forward for 2012. 


APALA SF OccupyAPALA San Francisco kept up its participation in the Occupy Movement by joining in the General Strike in Oakland on November 2, 2011 and March Rallies in San Francisco, chanting, "We are the 99%!" APALA SF had a membership party on December 16, 2010 and commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday with the San Francisco CLC. Additionally, SF chapter members donated monetarily and held a donation drive of boxes of canned goods and used clothes to the victims of the recent typhoons and flash floods in the Philippines.  


Foster and UFTAPALA New York City held a lovely and well-attended Lunar New Year dinner in Chinatown. APALA Associate Director Caroline Fan was on hand to help honor longtime supporter Foster Stringer, the outgoing Director of the Human Rights & Community Relations Department at AFT. His retirement capped a lifetime of work to support working families. Vinny Alvarez, the new President of the NYC CLC stopped by to wish everyone fortune in the new year. Many unions were represented including IBEW, UNITE HERE, TWU, UFT, DC 37, and Workers United/SEIU. The chapter also marched in the annual NYC Chinese New Year's parade to publicize labor's ongoing commitment to AAPI working families in NYC, along with a contingent from CLUW and UFT, and numerous elected officials such as Senator Chuck Schumer, Comptroller John Liu, and Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio.  


APALA DC helped phonebank in Indiana. The DC chapter also cohosted a State of the Union watch party that packed a hundred people into a DC restaurant. The event was hosted by APALA DC along with five other progressive APA organizations, including Asian American Action Group (AAAG), APAs for Progress - DC (APAP-DC), KAYA-DC, Korean Americans for Obama (KAFO), and South Asians for Obama. "We're proud our work with community partners was able to bring together over one hundred people to watch the President lay out his Blueprint for Change," said Katrina Dizon, DC Chapter President and member of OPEIU Local 2.  "We hope this is the first of many partnerships to connect APA trade unionists, the APA community, and the progressive community." The DC chapter invites everyone to join them for free food at their Lunar New Year event on Feb 2 at 6:30p, at AFSCME International, in the 1st Floor Board Room.  


APALA Texas attended the Texas AFL-CIO State Federation COPE Convention in Houston and APALA San Mateo/ Santa Clara held an officers' planning meeting. APALA Los Angeles is planning a progressive AAPI women's circle for female activists who work on worker rights issues. For more information, contact Lucia Lin at lulin@ucla.edu.

If you have chapter or member updates that you would like to share, please email cfan@apalanet.org.