APALA has taken a proactive stance in addressing the dearth of APA union organizers. In the early 1990s, APA workers were on the rise, yet there were only a handful of APA union organizers in the United States. Seeing the need for APA union organizers, APALA initiated the first ever organizer training for APA union organizers in 1993. Modeled after the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Institute, this annual three-day training functions as a pipeline for APA union organizers, researchers, and leadership. In addition, this unique training is custom designed for Asian Pacific Americans (APA) in the labor movement and for APAs committed to building power for working people. Many of the former trainees are now union lead organizers and union administrators.
APALA Organizing Institute trainers understand and incorporate the specific characteristics and needs of the APA community into the training. The unique training creates a support system for APA union members and provides the technical tools, resources, and mentorship to train more effective organizers.
One of the strengths of the APALA OI is that participants are trained by some of the most seasoned APA organizers from across the country. This once-a-year training has become the single most effective method to identify, train, and grow the number of qualified APA organizers around the country.