APALA E-Newsletter
The APA Voice of LaborJune 2012
In This Issue
Paycheck Fairness Fails in the Senate
DC rallies for the DREAM
APALA Supports President Obama's Immigration Directive
DOL Signs Partnerships on Migrant Worker Rights
APALA NYC Opposes Stop & Frisk
Paycheck Fairness Fails in the Senate

 On June 5, the Senate voted 52-47 on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was not enough to prevent a filibuster by Republicans. The bill was designed to close pay disparities between men and women, as US Census figures show that "on average, full-time working women earned 77 cents to every dollar earned by men for equivalent work." 


Specifically, the bill would "enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity." It also would have protected employees for being retaliated against for sharing salary information, which is necessary to figure out if women are being discriminated against.  

DC Rallies for DREAM
OCA interns DREAMWashington D.C. is buzzing with the news from the Obama Administration, which would shape immigration policy for current undocumented students. The twentieth century is the age of globalization. The entire nation is constantly influenced by interactions with other nations - through politics, economies, and through the people. With a significant population of immigrants, many of us are acquainted with, have befriended, or know of someone who is - or was - an immigrant.


For these reasons, many gathered outside the White House to rally in support of Obama's directive. Students, professionals, and advocates gathered to share in the joy because the announcement spoke to the hearts of many Americans - legal and undocumented, alike. Some people expressed relief that they would have the chance to find work while others were happy to know that their friends were safe (if only, temporarily).


As a child of a Chinese and  Peruvian immigrants, I was grateful for the news. This meant hope for those - who like my parents - risked it all to come and seek a better future in America. They overcame many obstacles to be here and their fears had not been abated once they arrived. These worries continued with fear of deportations, employer intimidation, abuse, and wage theft. This directive will minimize these concerns and be a proper first step in the right direction in immigration policy.

 (Written by Monica Siu, OCA intern for APALA) 

Check This Out


We Are the Ones!
We Are the Ones!
  The Cultural Committee of SEIU 521 made this innovative and eye-catching video on worker rights history featuring historic photos for SEIU International's convention in Denver. Member activists worked with Arts and Democracy and artist Thenmozhi Soundararajan to produce the video and song for the video. The song resonates with lines like "We're ready to fight, fight for our lives. We are the ones we've been waiting for."    
Los Angeles

The APALA Los Angeles chapter will be marching to oppose the construction of a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles Chinatown on 6/30. Please join Asian American activists, labor leaders, and small business owners in opposing the Wal-Mart.

Saturday June 30, 2012 @ 10AM

L.A. State Historic Park  

for route info visit: http://lalabor.tumblr.com/  

Washington DC


On June 9th, the APALA DC Chapter continued their monthly civic engagement program for Every Vote Counts at Northern Virginia Community College. With other local Asian Pacific American partners, Heather Laverty, APALA DC leader , engaged with potential new voters at the Korean American Association Job Fair. The chapter will continue to register voters next month at the 2012 Asian Festival on July 21st & 22nd at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. 
Did You Know?

Two members of the APALA family have new books out. APALA Founding President Kent Wong and the UCLA Labor Center published Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement. This is the second book about undocumented students, and this one honors the growing power of the DREAM movement.   


APALA Associate Director Caroline Fan recently published Work in Progress featuring musings from women advocates on work-life balance.  

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First off, as June comes to a close, I'd like to wish all of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters happy LGBT Pride month! We are proud to work with organizations like Pride at Work and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance to ensure full equality for all. It remains a priority for APALA to continue to build multi-issue, inter-generational and cross cultural coalitions and the LGBT community is no exception.


I'd also like to welcome the two newest members of our National Executive Board, Lucia Lin & Nam Le. Sister Lin works at the UCLA Labor Center and organizes with the Chinese Progressive Association - San Gabriel Valley and volunteers with the Koreatown Immigrant Workers' Alliance in Los Angeles. Brother Le is from UFCW 770 and was recently elected President of APALA's Los Angeles chapter. We are excited to have them both on our board and look forward to how they will help us grow the Asian Pacific American labor movement.


I also have some exciting news to announce - last week, at AFSCME's 40th Convention in Los Angeles, I was voted an International Vice President along with UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. My union made history as we elected Lee Saunders the first African American President of our union, and chose United Domestic Workers President Laura Reyes as the first female Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME International. Lee was elected to succeed outgoing President Gerald McEntee, who has been a fearless and visionary leader for our union. 


Earlier this month, APALA staff and members from across the country joined the Generational Alliance, a national coalition of 18 youth organizations serving underrepresented communities, at the National Electoral Strategy Session (NESS). Organizations brainstormed opportunities for collaboration in the 2012 election year and learned more about allied communities. The Generational Alliance also welcomed Carmen Berkley as the Interim Executive Director. Sister Berkley previously worked at AFSCME, NAACP & the United States Student Association.


Following NESS, APALA joined a coalition of progressive organizations at the Take Back the American Dream (TBAD) conference. A few months before the election in November, TBAD reminded people of the struggles that many Americans face daily and the importance of turning out the vote, especially among the Rising American Electorate.


There is no time to waste. Let's get to work! Register your neighbor or family member to vote. Become a member of APALA. Join a local action or organizing drive. With our collective efforts, we will be one step closer to ensure social and economic justice for all.


In solidarity,

Johanna Hester

APALA National President 

APALA Supports President Obama's Immigration Directive
Undocumented Students Would Be Able to Stay Here

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO supports President Obama's major change in immigration policy that will now allow eligible undocumented students to remain here under two year review. Very significantly, the directive allows
DREAM-eligible students to apply for temporary work permits, which
allows immigrants who have been toiling in the underground economy to
have greater workplace protections.

APALA Seattle member and undocumented student Yuki Suren said, "This is a tremendous opportunity for me and for 800,000 other youth who have been living in the shadows. I look forward to being able to stay here, apply for a temporary work visa, and live a normal life like all of my friends. This will allow me to have protections at the three jobs that I work, without fear of wage theft or sexual harassment."

APALA National President Johanna Hester (United Domestic Workers of America, AFSCME) said, "APALA has always fought for immigrant, worker, and civil rights. We applaud the President's leadership and Secretary Janet Napolitano's judicious decision. These youth are our members, friends, students, and coworkers. We look forward to this momentous policy change and see it as a first step towards comprehensive immigration reform that reunites families and protects workers." 

Department of Labor Signs Partnerships on Migrant Worker Rights   


On June 12, the ambassadors of the Philippines, Honduras, Peru, and Ecuador signed partnership agreements ensuring the protection of migrant workers' rights. At the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Ambassador Jorge Ramon Hernandez Alcerro of Honduras, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. of the Philippines, Ambassador Harold W. Forsyth of Peru, and Ambassador Natalie Cely of Ecuador convened to discuss workers' safety and the implications of partnership.


The signing of Joint Declarations outlined the collaborative efforts between U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and these nations' embassies and consulates to educate both migrant workers and their employers about their rights and U.S. labor laws. During the signing ceremony, Ambassadors also signed Letters of Agreements with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to address worker safety and wage theft. Secretary Solis says that the motivation in seeing these negotiations proceed is clear: "If we allow some employers to jeopardize, exploit and underpay their workers, we encourage other companies to do the same to stay competitive. When that happens, all working people lose. Our partnerships with embassies and consulates help us enforce laws that protect all workers, including U.S. citizens. They remove the incentive to hire and exploit workers who are unaware of rights or afraid to complain."


According to the Bureau of Statistics, approximately one U.S. worker dies every two hours from a work-related injury. The agreement with OSHA will provide worker protection through health and safety standards, especially in construction and maintenance. The agreement with WHD assures that all workers receive the pay that they are owed. These measures will allow for migrant workers to feel more comfortable with approaching their consulates with problems, without fear of retribution or doubts about government support.


Due to significant unemployment rates in the Philippines, Filipino workers have migrated to the Western Hemisphere. While groups like the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) have managed programs to prepare and protect their labor workers abroad, these programs are limited to the country's borders. The signing of these agreements will enhance these efforts with initiatives at the host country. According to Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr., "We are very pleased to sign these joint declarations and letters of arrangement with DOL. We assure DOL we will do our part in ensuring the dissemination of helpful information to Filipino workers concerning their right to a safe and healthy working environment, and fair wages and working hours in the U.S., and in assisting them to seek redress when such rights are disregarded or outright violated." This joint effort between the Philippines and the U.S. marks a special moment for the DOL as Secretary Solis hopes that this will be the start of partnerships with other Asian nations; and the beginning of other success stories on the quest to protect all workers' rights. 

APALA New York City Opposes Stop & Frisk 


On Father's Day weekend, many New Yorkers gathered in the city to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Stop and Frisk" policy. While reports state that those who are stopped are generally young African-American and Latino males, almost 300 different groups banded to speak on behalf of everyone who has felt the sting of racial profiling and discrimination. Some organizations included Eastern Vietnamese Cambodia Association of New York, La Fuente, OCA-NY, and  the APALA NYC chapter


Those gathered believed that Stop and Frisk was a policy made to single out minorities and perpetuate racist stereotypes - a fact that Lenny Moy, APALA NYC President, emphasizes: "This policy creates nothing but animosity and distrust between those who are sworn to protect and the community of color... We are not criminals by our skin color."   


In what is known as one of the largest cooperative efforts between regional organizations, unions, religious and ethnic groups, the crowd moved in silence across the bustling city. While the march ended with a struggle with the police, the turnout left an echo on New York City streets for the world to hear that the people will not sit still to unfair treatment and unjust legislation.   

Join Data Disaggregation Efforts at the Dept. of Ed 


As part of the Department of Education's plan to improve access for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs), the agency has announced that it is seeking to gather information on how state education agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions disaggregate data on AANHPI students. The Department of Education will then use the information to develop best practices and policies to improve and increase data disaggregation by AANHPI subgroups. APALA, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), are leading the effort to ensure that community members know about and respond to the request.   


APALA member and NEA's Senior Liaison, Monica Thammarath, has helped spearhead efforts to ensure that community members provide feedback by the deadline of July 3rd. Ryan Mariategue, an APALA Young Leader Council member from Alameda, has committed to helping spread the word. To assist community members in the process, APALA, AALDEF, and SEARAC have developed a toolkit on the commenting process that also shows how to reach out to schools and school districts. The organizations have hosted a series of webinars for community members to learn more about this initiative. There is one more webinar on Wednesday, June 27th at 5PM EST. More information can be found online at www.ncapaonline.org