Established as a formal entity within the AFL-CIO in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) was envisioned as an organization that would address a number of pressing needs within the A/P/A community. These needs included educating laborers, promoting political education and voter registration, and providing training and mentoring to A/P/A leaders within the labor movement and greater community. Its founders recognized that in addition to traditional issues like fair wages, health care, and dignity, A/P/A workers faced unique challenges and workplace discrimination. APALA understood the necessity of forming labor alliances and sought to get more A/P/A workers into unions, especially those working in garment factories and restaurants. It also sought to develop ties to international labor organizations, especially those within the Asia-Pacific Rim.
With approximately 660,000 members, a national office in Washington, DC, and over twenty chapters and pre-chapters across the country, APALA remains the first and only national organization of A/P/A union members. The APALA Records contain administrative files related to its steering committee, executive board, and membership; documents related to specific political campaigns; files on conferences, conventions, and special public meetings; and newsletters, VHS tape recordings, photographs, placards, posters, and signs documenting APALA’s work from its early years to the present.
To learn more about the contents of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Records, located at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.