SPRING QUARTER 2002
Asian Pacific American Labor Studies
Asian American Studies 197B; class ticket number: 121-856-200
Mondays, 4:00 – 6:50 p.m.
Bunche 2168

 

Asian American Studies 197B
Spring Quarter 2002

Final Community Internship Reports
My Internship Helping Chinese Daily News Workers by Laura Lin

My project this quarter was with the UCLA Labor Center. The Labor Center was working on a campaign for the Chinese Daily News (CDN). The Chinese Daily News is the largest Chinese language newspaper in the United States. It is a family-owned business with branches in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Each branch is owned by a different sibling, therefore some decisions made at one branch do not necessarily affect others.

On March 19, 2001, the workers of the Chinese Daily News in Los Angeles voted to join the Communications Workers of America Union (CWA). Their decision to join the union was based on several factors. This included OSHA violations that were not being corrected, lack of overtime pay, and harassment of workers. However, management refused to recognize the legitimacy of the vote. They hired a union buster, Larry Wong, to influence the vote and further discourage workers from voting.

When I joined the campaign, Michelle Sun, another student at UCLA, was already involved in it. Our first event for the campaign was a press conference in front of the CDN in Monterey Park. This event was well attended by speakers who were both political officials and heads of community organizations. There I met William Kramer, whom Michelle and I would report to, and Stephanie Moore, the CWA representative who was working with the CDN workers.

Following this initial meeting, Michelle, William and I began to have weekly update meetings. Halfway through the quarter, a graduate student from Taiwan, I-Ling, joined us and helped us do research on events and situations in Taiwan. During these meetings, we would discuss what we did each week, and suggest new ideas and strategies. We also had one large group meeting with Stephanie, Ling (a worker from the CDN), William, Michelle, and me. This meeting was for ideas of what we could do and where the workers wanted to go with the campaign.

My main projects during this time consisted of doing an informal ad analysis of the paper. We wanted to see what kinds of companies were advertising in the paper, and who might be willing to put some pressure on the company. We were also hoping to find a location that we could have some kind of action in front of. However, it was conveyed to us that the workers were not comfortable making a large scene. They were afraid of losing their jobs and commissions.

The other major project I worked on was a support letter signed by professors. As of 6-13-02, I have 14 signatures from various UCLA professors. The workers are convinced that UCLA is a big enough name to mean something to the management and the parent company in Taiwan. They felt that if the management found out that professors at UCLA knew and cared about the campaign, it might influence their decision. This letter is going to be shown to the management in Los Angeles, and taken to Taiwan on a trip to see the parent company in July.

I also attended bi-weekly STROBE meetings. This consisted of small group meetings with Jessica Kim as group leader, and then a large group meeting with William leading. In the small meetings the campaigns consisted of the Garment Workers Center, KIWA, Taco Bell, and the CDN. We would update each other on our situations and give feedback and ideas. This was extremely helpful as many of the people in the groups were further along in their campaigns. They had good ideas and pointers. The large STROBE meetings also consisted of brief group updates, and then a small workshop period in the second hour.

Another major event that I attended was the May 17 Labor Hearing. This was a revolutionary event that consisted of Asian American workers testifying to various members of the political community about their situations. The main organizer of this event was Judy Chu’s office. It was well attended by speakers, but audience participation was low.

This entire quarter was full of new experiences for me. All three of my classes consisted of some kind of outside participation. No class, however, required as much as this one. I think that I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve met. I’ve never been involved in any kind of labor movement, or known anyone who was part of one. It gave me a chance to see the struggles and trials that people have to go through in order to gain even the most basic rights. Although it was difficult and frustrating at times, I hope that some of the things I did this quarter will have helped in some way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof. Omatsu's ClassWeb UCLA AAS ClassWeb Prof. Omatsu's ClassWeb Magazine Home eMail Professor Omatsu Class Syllabus