APALA Celebrates APAHM 2014 and Beyond
APALA Chapters
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Los Angeles  




New Jersey

New York


Orange County


San Diego  

San Francisco

San Jose/Santa Clara/San Mateo



Washington, D.C. 

Chapter Highlights


The Alameda Chapter focused on civic engagement and voter registration in preparation for the 2014 primary elections. With as many as 12,000 unregistered AAPI's living in Oakland, APALA Alameda Chapter members continue to play a critical role in conducting targeted bilingual outreach to connect with the underserved AAPI community while also educating them about the importance of raising the minimum wage for all workers.  



Los Angeles



APALA LA hosted the first ever API Workers Congress that brought together API workers, union leaders, union staff, students and community activists, allied worker centers, and social justice organizations to discuss API workers' issues in the Los Angeles area. Participants gathered to engage and develop skills to build the power of working people to collaborate and make the changes they envision in Los Angeles and beyond. Energetic plenary sessions highlighted solidarity, major advances, and challenges that face the API community. Participants also engaged in workshops around organizing, political campaigning, communications, and immigration. 





In addition to working with the NAACP to conduct congressional visits locally, APALA Michigan collaborated with different organizations to host a Voting Rights Act Advocacy Forum on April 12th in response to the Supreme Court elimination of a key provision that stripped away voter protections. The forum helped educate and motive people to play an active role in their grassroots movement to urge congress to amend the Voting Rights Act to preserve our right to vote.


APALA Nevada members were geared up to join the picket line in solidarity with members of culinary workers Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165. Thankfully, the strike was adverted as all night negotiations took place to conclude their year long contract negotiations efforts. In all, 44,000 non-gaming employees, including cooks, housekeepers, food servers, cleaners, cocktail servers, and hospitality workers settled on new  fair contracts that will allow these union members to provide for their families.

New York


This picture was taken in front of PS 130M just before the march of the unveiling of Pvt. Danny Chen Way. APALA NY Chapter participated in the community's two year struggle to have the street named in his honor. It is a visual reminder to stand up and speak out against bullying and injustice everywhere. The APALA NY Chapter also continued their advocacy efforts during APAHM by rallying in at Foley Square for immigration reform, conducting hill visits at Michael Girmm's local office, and conducted collaboration work with the Coalition for Asian Americans against Violence and Workers United Film Festival. 


 San Diego


APALA San Diego Chapter joined the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Proclamation Ceremony for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. To further highlight the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans, the San Diego Chapter joined the United Domestic Workers of America, Local 3930 in screening the Delano Manongs Documentary which signified the contributions of Filipino Farm Workers during the 1960s. Their previous sponsorship of the 5th annual La Hermandad show also commemorated the unity and legacy of FIlipino and Chicano farm workers during the formation of the UFW.
San Francisco


APALA San Francisco members joined various actions throughout the city to rally with partners in support of immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, protecting workers' rights at Our Walmart actions, and also demanded corporations to pay their fair share. They co-sponsored the "All on the Same Ocean" event which consisted of a discussion on globalization, subcontracting, and international solidarity that featured rank in file dock workers from Hong Kong who went on strike for 40 days. 


To kickoff their low wage AAPI worker exhibit and wrap up APAHM, the APALA Seattle Chapter held their annual fundraiser dinner on May 30th which brought out over 100 community members and allies. AAPI leaders in the Pacific Northwest convened in support of APALA Seattle Chapter's leadership in the community as AAPI leaders were also recognized in celebration of APAHM.       


APALA Texas have been on the ground mobilizing the AAPI communities in their key areas to register and vote during their upcoming elections. As parts of Texas become more diverse, APALA Texas looks to tap into the shifting demographics and mobilize the AAPI communities in places like Austin and Houston. Last month, APALA Texas leaders rallied in support of Leticia Van De Putte for Lieutenant Governor.   


Washington DC
In addition to hosting their annual karaoke membership drive fundraiser, members have actively canvassed to educate the community about local elections in Virginia, successfully canvassed to pass minimum wage, and also canvassed for a successful paid sick days for restaurant workers campaign. They also co-sponsored the National Nurses United Campaign to improve the nurse to patient ratios and celebrated of APAHM by partnering to help organize the Delano Manongs Film screening at AFSMCE International Headquarters. APALA DC members also joined CWA and workers across the globe to demand Fair Trade Now and stop the fast track for the trans-pacific-partnership. 
Message from the President


The month of May has become an important month for the AAPI community. With its humble beginning in 1977, when the first ten days of May were proclaimed as Asian Pacific Heritage week in 1977, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) has grown to become a federally recognized month long celebration of the culture, history, and successes of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).


To kickoff our APAHM celebration this year, APALA leaders convened in Washington D.C. for our National Executive Board Meeting at the AFL-CIO headquarters. Our Board Members praised the induction of the Chinese Railroad Workers into the Department of Labor's Hall of Honor and joined hundreds of AAPI leaders at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) 20th Anniversary Gala.


APALA leaders also engaged in policy roundtables with the Departments of Education, Labor and Homeland Security to highlight the issues impacting APAs nationwide. Board members conducted legislative visits to remind our elected congressional members about the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform and raising the minimum wage. 


Throughout the rest of May, APALA chapters hosted multiple community screenings of Delano Manongs to educate the community about the contributions of Filipino Farm Workers within the American labor movement by starting a strike that would lead to the establishment of the United Farm Workers. APALA also partnered to host a panel on AAPIs in mass incarceration to shatter the model minority myth and shed light upon the APAs in the criminal justice system.


Asian Pacific American Heritage Month has passed but APALA will not stop our organizing and advocacy efforts. We will continue to honor the accomplishments of our community and stay steadfast in our struggle for worker, immigrant and civil rights. Will you join us? Sign up here.


In Solidarity,

Johanna Hester   

APALA National President 

National Executive Board Meeting
Washington, D.C.
APALA board members convened in Washington D.C. at the AFL-CIO headquarters on May 5-7, 2014. The board discussed APALA's plan to host AAPI Worker Congresses, facilitate an Organizing Institute in August and strategize our efforts for the 2014 elections. The meeting concluded successfully, but not without a handful of prominent guest speakers throughout the course of both days.

Guest Speakers

Thomas Perez  Secretary of Labor
Tefere Gebre
AFL-CIO Executive 
Vice President
Bhairavi Desai  Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance

Chinese Railroad Workers Inducted to  Labor Hall of Honor  
On May 9, 2014, the Department of Labor made history as Secretary Thomas Perez formally inducted the Chinese Railroad Workers into the Labor Hall of Honor. This induction, dedicated to over 12,000 Chinese workers who labored under extreme conditions during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s, represents the first Asian Americans to be included. Their contributions to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad is often omitted from American history, but as we celebrate APAHM, APALA was proud to be a part of this historic ceremony in honoring these pioneers and their contributions to the American labor movement.  


Present at the event were descendents of Chinese railroad workers, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and other senior officials at the Department of Labor including Deputy Secretary Chris Lu and Assistant Secretary Portia Wu. 


Secretary Thomas Perez recognizing and honoring descendants of Chinese Railroad Workers.

During their speech, Secretary Perez and Deputy Secretary Lu recognized APALA for its work and continuous efforts in advancing immigrants, workers, and civil rights. The event was live-streamed and can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

"Delano Manongs" Screening 
On May 19, APALA DC Chapter, National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA), Kaya, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee (AFSCME), co-sponsored a free screening of the documentary "Delano Manongs" at the AFSCME Headquarters in Washington, DC. President Lee Saunders of AFSCME welcomed the community in attendance and commended the leadership of AAPI leaders in the labor movement. The film documented and recognized the instigation of the Delano Grape Strike in 1965, led by Filipino farm workers who fought for fair wages and living standards. As a critical part of the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 and an indispensable force to the development of the United Farm Workers Union, the pivotal contributions, leadership, and sacrifices of Filpinio Farm Workers and leaders such as Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz were never recognized in the discourse of the American labor movement. It is because of such omission that APALA, along with NaFFAA, Kaya, and AFSCME, were proud to shed light on a part of history not known by many.
AAPI & Mass Incarceration Event

APALA partnered with SEARAC and the AFL-CIO to host the panel, "Shattering the Model Minority Myth: Asian Pacific Islanders in Mass Incarceration" on May 20th at the AFL-CIO Headquarters. The panel discussed the intersections of education, immigration, mental health, and poverty/housing as they elaborated on the taboo issue of mass incarceration within the AAPI community. The groundbreaking discussion helped dispel the myth of the 'model minority' and educate attendees on the issues Asian Pacific Americans face in regards to the criminal justice system. The Panel was recorded and broadcasted live via webcam. Click on the link below to watch the panel in its entirety. 
The Effects of $10.10 Minimum Wage and the Rate of Unionization for AAPI Workers  
The President and some Congressional leaders support the idea of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hr. If that can be realized, over 1 million AAPI workers, or 13.7%, would be affected. 
The Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) signifies that workers who make just above $10.10/hr would also benefit from the raise. The average age of AAPI low wage worker is at 36 years old, which is higher than other major racial-ethnic groups. Most are working during their prime working years, between the ages of 25-54, and earning less than the proposed $10.10/hr. If the minimum wage were increase to $10.10/hr, 1 million AAPI workers would benefit from the raise.


AAPIs are, along with Latinos, part of the fastest growing sector of the overall workforce as well as unions. The most recent data reveals that 1 in 9 APPI workers is unionized , which is at a much lower rate than that of whites and blacks workers, but a slightly higher rate than that of Latino workers.


Although unionization rates have been dropping across the board over the past few years, contributing to the long decline of unions in the U.S., AAPI workers with less than high school education are unionizing at a slightly increasing rate. But at 9.6%, they are still less likely to be unionized than AAPI workers with higher level of education.   



*Data courtesy of Center for Economic Policy Research. To learn more about CEPR, click here

APALA Lifetime Warriors Program 
We thank our APALA Lifetime Warriors for their continued leadership and support to APALA's efforts to fight for social and economic justice:

Mary Anne Ahtye, Willard Beck, Luisa Blue, Tim Bressler, 

Josie Camacho, Richard Chu, Lila Chui, Troy Davis, John Delloro, James Hardy, Alex Hing, Jenny Ho, General Holiefield, 

Ted Jacobson, Virdell King, Keith Mickens, Van S. Nguyen, Norman Ten, Marian Thom, Maria Somma, Anna Stuart
Sign up for the APALA Lifetime Warrior Program today and be recognized for your commitment and lifelong dedication to advance Asian Pacific American worker, immigrant and civil rights. 
The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO was founded in 1992
as the first and only national organization for Asian Pacific American union members to advance
worker, immigrant and civil rights. For more information, visit www.apalanet.org and follow @APALAnational 

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