Date Range: 1992 – 2011
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2011-05-11
Creator: Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
History: Dedicated to the needs and concerns of Asian Pacific American (APA) workers the foundations for the creation of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) were laid in 1990 when a number of APA labor activists presented the AFL-CIO with a proposal to better address a continued under-representation among APA workers in the labor movement by forming a national APA labor organization. Following the lessons learned from the examples of APA labor leaders in history, they understood the necessity of forming labor alliances, and sought to get more APA workers into unions, especially, those working in historically important industries such as garment factories and restaurants.The founders recognized that, in addition to traditional issues like fair wages, health care, and dignity, APA workers faced other challenges and workplace discrimination. Despite the popularity of a ‘model minority myth’ about Asian Pacific Americans, there are many misunderstandings about the ability of many Asian Pacific Americans to achieve economic security and prosperity. While the median income of APA workers is higher than the national average, there is tremendous difference between specific ethnic groups – some experience high rates of poverty and others have incomes that are substantially loser than the national average. Other disadvantages related to immigration status, discrimination, language ability and education force many Asian Pacific Americans into low-paying and insecure jobs, often accompanied by exploitation, discrimination and harsh conditions.