On November 13, 2009, APALA convened the first National Asian Pacific American Worker’s Rights Hearing, a historic gathering of over 200 APA trade unionists and community allies. The hearing was convened in the Samuel Gompers room of the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington D.C. APAs nationwide spoke about challenges they faced in exercising their right to organize including employer intimidation, immigrant worker exploitation, health and safety violations, wage theft and union suppression – while also highlighting the strategies that individual workers and unions have developed in the fight for worker solidarity and economic justice.
These worker testimonies, policy solutions, and additional research were presented in APALA's groundbreaking report, Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence, which was published in 2010.
Over 200 people from across the country attended this historic hearing.
The hearing was co-convened by APALA and the AFL-CIO, in partnership with over 20 national and local organizations, to provide the first national platform for APA workers focused on the right to organize and the rights of immigrant workers. The AFL-CIO’s participation in the hearing demonstrated their commitment to diversity, strengthening labor and community partnerships and recruiting the next generation of leaders.
Congresswoman Judy Chu, speaking at the first ever National APA Worker’s Rights Hearing.
The hearing panelists. (Left to right: Mary Beth Maxwell, Liz Suler, John Delloro, Sarita Gupta, Gregory Cendana, Larry Shinagawa, Kent Wong)
Hearing panelists included:
- Congresswoman Judy Chu
- AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler
- Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor Mary Beth Maxwell
- APALA President John Delloro
- Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta
- UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong
- University of Maryland - Asian American Studies Department Director Larry Shinagawa
- United States Student Association President (at the time of the hearing) Gregory Cendana
The workers who provided testimonials on workplace abuses.
As a result of this hearing, APALA in partnership with the UCLA Labor Center produced a report, Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence which provides highlights from the hearing, a demographic snapshot of APA’s and policy recommendations.
APALA's next national convention will happen from July 21-24, 2011 in Oakland.