On behalf of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, I am pleased to invite union members, community partners, and young leaders from around the country to the thirteenth biennial APALA Convention– Organizing In Solidarity, Building One Vision Forward! The convention will be at the Wyndham Bayside in San Diego, CA from August 13-16, 2015.
APALA is pleased to host an intergenerational conference of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, activists and our allies. This powerful convening continues the groundwork laid by decades of training programs including the Organizing Institute, our political program Every Vote Counts, and our series of successful immigrant rights hearings and worker congresses across the country.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a vital part of the changing labor movement and face unique challenges in this difficult economy. The most recent census tells us that we are the fastest growing racial group in the country and in the U.S. unionized workforce. In 2014, more than 1-in-17 union workers were Asian American or Pacific Islander, up from 1-in-40 two and a half decades earlier.
AAPIs who are unemployed, are without jobs for longer than other Americans, and face greater language barriers to employment. From 1999 to 2004, the AAPI prison population rose by 30% and approximately 1.3 million AAPIs are undocumented, accounting for 15% of the total undocumented population in America.
Now, more than ever, AAPI, union and community activists need a place to convene and tackle the challenges that we face. Workers are still facing discrimination on the job, undocumented Americans need a pathway to citizenship and homeowners increasingly find themselves unable to maintain the roof over their heads.
Even as we have achieved victories on Executive Action by President Barack Obama on Immigration and minimum wage and paid sick leave at the municipal and state level, we must continue fighting for good jobs, comprehensive immigration reform, and union solidarity between the public and private sectors. The time for action is now and our convention is an exciting opportunity to engage.
The APALA convention allows workers and allies to engage in lively and uplifting debate as we advance worker, immigrant and civil rights, linking generations of activists in support of social, racial and economic justice. This will be a one-of-a-kind gathering and we hope that you will join us in Organizing In Solidarity, Building One Vision Forward.
Johanna Puno Hester
APALA National President