Mural Project by Ryan Cheng, Ching Huang, Ken Ichiroku,
Diana Luu, and Julie Yoshioka
Koreatown Market Workers
Justice Campaign - Community-based Work Team by
Paul Chung, Vi Le, James Roh, and Sanghee Yoon
Market Workers Justice Campaign - Campus-based Work
- by Sean Na, Ye Jin, J.P. Puno, and Lyeng Ia
UCLA Students' Website Supporting
Koreatown Market Workers Campaign: www.marketworkerscampaign.com
Leadership School by Teresa Nguyen
American Studies 197B
Spring Quarter 2002
Community Internship Reports
Koreatown Market Workers Justice Campaign
- Campus-based Work Team by Sean Na, Ye Jin, J.P. Puno, and
Justice, No Peace!" we screamed. Students, market workers,
teachers, and community leaders came together on the day of
June 7, 2002 to fight for a just cause - the Market Workers
Justice Campaign. As I stood there in front of ASSI supermarket,
on what was essentially the last day I would meet with my group,
professor, and classmates, a sudden sense of pride came over
me. Every rally and protest held against ASSI supermarket definitely
has an impact on its management. They are minor battles won
in a prolonged war of injustice, and I was proud to be part
Market Workers Justice Campaign group and I had come together
in an internship in the beginning of this quarter and were given
a list of objectives and responsibilities that seemed daunting
at the time. But it is amazing what we were able to accomplish
through teamwork. Given the internship with the community-based
MWJC, we set out to educate fellow UCLA students while at the
same time getting their support for the campaign.
of the most useful tactics we used was the student petitions.
It gave us a chance to educate other students about the exploitation
of immigrant workers, and gain their individual and group support
through their signatures. By putting together a general petition
letter for the MWJC, we were able to educate other students
of the exploitation and importance of unionization in Koreatown
supermarkets. We also created a petition for Mr. Yi, a former
ASSI supermarket employee who was unjustly fired. By presenting
both petitions to students, we were able give supporters a broader
view of the whole situation, and also a specific example and
casualty of ASSI's unfairness. Getting signatures from students,
however, is not the easiest thing to do - especially on a campus
where students always seem to be in a rush. We stood on Bruin
Walk on several occasions, made announcements in classrooms,
and asked for support from friends and family. Although many
students are often too busy to stop and listen, those who did
actually take the time to learn what our campaign is about,
they were more than willing to support.
tactic we used were the student group endorsements. There is
already a long list of MWJC endorsers to which we added. Approaching
different groups and making presentations gave us a chance to
educate these groups while at the same time getting their support.
The significance of getting the support of students and student
groups is that we as students at UCLA are recognized in the
community, and by showing our support we are setting an example
for others to follow. Our opinions as students and members of
the community have significance, and by showing our support
and presenting this to ASSI management, reminds them of just
how many people are aware of the situation and that we are fighting
on the same side as the workers they are fighting against.
thing my group and I decided to do was to raise money for Mr.
Yi. After brainstorming several ideas, we decided to have a
bake sale on Bruin Walk. Although the bake sale did not raise
as much money as we hoped for, we took advantage of this opportunity
to educate students of Bruin Walk. As students walked by and
bought a cookie, we would ask them to sign the petition and
they would listen to what our campaign was about. We did, however,
receive many generous donations from friends and our professor.
While the amount we raised for Mr. Yi will not compensate for
the loss of his job, we hope that the money we give him will
make some kind of contribution to his well-being.
individual task I was given for our campaign was to write viewpoint
article for the Daily Bruin newspaper. The articles main
focus was on the importance of taking Asian American Studies
classes here at UCLA, or wherever one attends school for that
matter. In particular, I emphasized the importance of topics
discussed in AAS classes that focus on the changing class dynamics
of our time in Asian communities and how it was relevant in
my life as an Asian American student. The article will not be
published this quarter, but we are hoping to get it published
in the fall quarter. The article will be posted on our MWJC
website, where visitors can read the article, read the FAQ's
section, view pictures from various events and rallies we attended,
and a general briefing of what the campaign is all about.
have learned many things in this class that cannot be offered
in other classes. I remember an exercise we had in class before
setting out on our internships, where we listed all our strengths
and weaknesses that we would like to improve on. Working with
my group on a number of different projects allowed me to demonstrate
my organizational skills and dedication to an assignment. What
seemed to be a daunting list of assignments in the beginning
of the quarter actually helped us grow more dedicated to the
campaign as we achieved our goals one by one. One thing I wanted
to improve on and had mentioned in the beginning of the quarter
was my ability to speak in public. On several occasions, I made
announcements in lecture halls about the MWJC and our petitions.
Also, I made announcements to several student groups in order
to get endorsements for the campaign. Through this, I was able
to practice speaking in public and eventually overcame my fear.
Though this quarter has come to an end, the war in the Korean
supermarket industry has not ended and as long as the
MWJC is around, I will be sure to contribute to the fight against
By Ye Jin
am a part of the campus-based Market Workers Justice Campaign.
There were eight students initially to start off. Due to a small
number of supervision staff at KIWA, Liz decided to divide us
into two separate groups: community and campus-based. Our main
responsibility in the campus-based group is to assist KIWA and
community group to raise awareness and educate students on UCLA
campus about the current market workers campaign and various
actions/activities that are happening at KIWA. Sean, J P, Lyeng,
and I are the four members. Our responsibilities and goals of
the quarter were as follow:
Generate a specific petition to reinstate Mr. Yoi back to
his former job at Assi Market.
Having all students from our class to sign the petition form
and then present it to the
management the day of community/student action in front of
2) Create a more general petition with details on the purpose
of the Market Workers Justice Campaign and introduce students
to the various issues (unfair labor practice, exploitation
of immigrant workers, workers harassment, etc.) at the market.
Collect UCLA student signatures to support the workers
struggle and their need to organize into a union. Our initial
goal was set at collecting up to 1,000 signatures.
3) Create a UCLA student website which describes the whole
campaign and provides
easy access pertaining to the campaign progress, action, and
education for those who
are interested in finding out more information.
4) Collect endorsements from various UCLA student-groups to
support the campaign.
5) Fundraising for Mr. Yi and help him to support his family.
Our initial goal was: $200.
6) Write a Daily Bruin viewpoint article to stress the importance
of UCLA students
involvement in the Market Workers Justice Campaign.
actual accomplishments at the end of the quarter:
Sean had written the specific petition of rehiring Mr. Yoi.
All the students in the class
had signed the form. This petition was given to James (community
based group), and
he will later present it to the management at Assi
2) I was responsible for writing the general petition form
detailing the issues of the
campaign. Sean, Lyeng, J P and I have all went to either our
own classes or Asian
American and Chicano Studies classes for presentations and
collection of signatures.
We have also asked for petition signatures on bruinwalk from
each individual student.
Unfortunately, we didnt surpass our initial goal. We
had only obtained approximately
500 signatures. All the petition signatures were turned in
to Liz last Friday at the
action. These petitions will later be presented to Assi management
during the summer
by UCLA students
3) J P did an excellent job in creating the website.
http://www.marketworkerscampaign.com/ contains history about
the campaign, current
campaign status, photos of various actions and protests, FAQ,
links to other sites, all
the campaign student endorsement groups, and other press articles
in regards to the
4) The four of us had collected of total nine student-group
endorsements. J P got it
from The United Students Against Sweatshops, Lyeng got it
from the Environmental
Coalition, Sean got it from UCLA Thai Smakom, Association
of Chinese American,
Amnesty of International at UCLA, Nikkei Student Union, I
have got it from
Taiwanese American Union, Chinese Student Association, and
with the help from
James, we also got it from Korean American Student Association.
5) We did two bake sales on bruin walk. The first sale consisted
of selling cookies,
chocolate bars, and muffins. We made $35. At the second bake
sell, Lyeng baked all
the cookies for us. However, students were seen hesitant in
approaching our tables. At
both bake sales, there was another competing student group
doing the exact same
thing. Therefore, the second time, Lyeng and I had to approach
students directly inside
of Ackerman Union for donations. Since most students were
reluctant in giving money
in the first place, we only asked for twenty-five cents per
each cookie. We made $7 at
the second donation. But thanks to Professor Omatsu ($50 donation),
class ($50 from bake sale), and the rest of money donated
from our own team members.
We managed to raise $163.00, but failed our initial goal of
two hundred dollars. The
money was given to Liz, and James will be responsible for
handing the money over to
6) Sean had submitted the article to the Daily Bruin. However,
the article has not been
published so far.
seven weeks of internship, we have accomplished most of our
goals, and each of us in the team has benefited from participating
in such internship. We have improved our public speaking skills
by making campaign presentations in front of classes, talking
to students on bruinwalk, and making contact with various student-groups.
Moreover, we have become more comfortable in taking initiative
through making direct contact and approach students when collecting
the petition signatures. We have also learned to do bake sales
on campus. Personally, it was the first time that I have ever
participated in actions and protests. Although I was nervous
at first, it turned out to be the best experience ever. I learned
more about labor issues regarding immigrant workers and I also
witnessed joining effort of the community members and students
of fighting for the same cause. Most importantly, I have walked
out of the safe haven of UCLA campus and become involved in
the community life.
By John-Paul Puno
This Spring, a handful of students had the opportunity to intern
for Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates, or KIWA for short. Interns
from UCLA were first interviewed and divided into two groups,
one group that would be working directly at the KIWA office
in Koreatown, and the other group working more closely with
projects on the UCLA campus. There were a total of four students
chosen to work in the on-campus group, Jenny, Sean, Lyeng, and
myself, and each of us were responsible for a different task.
The current campaign that KIWA focused on is the Market Workers
Justice Campaign, which supports the formation of a union of
workers from a Korean owned supermarket. The supermarket they
work for, Assi Market, is a large and highly popular Korean
supermarket, which owns their own line of food products and
grosses a comparable amount to a Ralphs Supermarket store.
Unfortunately, many workers of Assi Market have been verbally
abused by managers, have little job security, little benefits,
low pay (compared to union members of other supermarkets), and
in some cases have been fired for being pro-union. For these
reasons alone, it was important to establish a union.
main objectives of our group was to develop a petition supporting
the Market Workers Justice Campaign, obtain student group endorsements,
let students know what was going on at Assi Market, and hopefully
get students to attend some of the protests outside of Assi
Market. We divided the tasks among us by delineating which students
groups we were going to ask endorsements from, and each intern
was responsible for getting an endorsement from several groups.
Furthermore, all of the on-campus based interns would try to
garner as many signatures as possible, which would eventually
be presented to the owner of Assi Market. The on-campus based
interns also provided support for the interns at the KIWA office.
We helped the other interns distribute flyers about an upcoming
protest and we also served as security for the event.
addition to the main objectives of the group, we also had other
projects to help the campaign. For example, all on-campus based
interns helped developed a website (www.marketworkerscampaign.com)
to inform the public of the Market Workers Justice Campaign
and keep them updated on what was going on. The website also
included the history of the campaign, photos, as well as a page
of the endorsements we garnered. Another project we worked on
was a Viewpoint article to be submitted to the Daily Bruin.
Sean worked on an insightful article that is also posted on
our website. All of the on-campus based interns also took part
in fundraising for Mr. Yi, a pro-union worker who was recently
fired from Assi Market. The fundraising took the form of a bakesale
and Lyeng baked some homemade cookies that were very popular.
Jenny and Sean also went to the March 1st rally and took some
great photos for the website. Overall, the group had many goals
to reach and we all worked together in reaching those goals.
The things we accomplished was a petition with about 600 signatures,
obtained about a dozen student group endorsements, raised money
for Mr. Yi, developed a website about the campaign, and informed
hundreds of students about the campaign.
there were a lot of things I learned from this experience and
a lot of skills that I got to work on. First of all, I learned
that a lot of hard work goes into a campaign such as the Market
Workers Justice Campaign. I realized that it takes the hard
work of many individuals coming together and working as a collective
unit. Planning became a very important aspect in this internship
since the quarter is only 10 weeks long and we wanted to accomplish
as much as we can in that short time span. I also got hands
on experience on what it takes to put on a successful campaign
and it was the first time I have ever been involved in a protest.
I also learned how unions work and some of the politics and
practices behind running large businesses.
also got the chance to develop some of my personal skills. One
of the skills I really got to work on is my public speaking
skills, since I talked to dozens and dozens of people on an
individual basis. I also made announcements to several classes
once of which had about three hundred students. I also had to
be prepared for any questions that they may ask, which required
me to think on my feet, a skill I wanted to work on. Finally,
I got to work on my leadership skills through inputting ideas
to the group and being a leader at the protests through being
a security person and directing traffic.
summation, the internship at KIWA was a very positive and enlightening
experience that raised my consciousness about worker injustices
and the positive dynamics of interethnic relations. I am very
grateful and lucky to be a part of this internship, and hopefully
I played a role in helping this campaign reach its goals. I
look forward to continuing to be a part of this campaign and
hopefully be more involved in other community projects.