course is a continuation of AAS 197A in Winter Quarter 2002,
although enrollment is not based on taking the previous course.
The Spring Quarter course focuses on student internships with
community-based labor projects.
historically and today, grassroots labor struggles by immigrant
workers are central to defining the Asian Pacific American experience.
Immigrant labor struggles bring to the forefront issues of human
rights, interethnic and interracial alliances, racism and gender
oppression, the impact of globalization, and the ongoing efforts
to expand democracy in America. However, despite the central
significance of labor struggles, the curriculum in Asian American
Studies has virtually no classes focusing on labor.
class addresses this vacuum and examines Asian Pacific American
labor, both historically and today. Among historical issues
to be covered are the exclusion of Asian immigrant workers from
mainstream labor unions, the resulting reliance of immigrant
workers on community-based strategies for fighting for workplace
rights, and the close connection between labor organizing and
other community movements such as support for independence of
former homelands from colonialism, womens rights, and
movements for human rights. Among contemporary issues to be
covered are current organizing campaigns by low-income immigrants
in the garment and restaurant industries, the ways these community-based
labor struggles are redefining labor organizing strategies in
mainstream unions, and the impact of labor struggles and immigrant
worker centers on reshaping politics in Asian Pacific American
class emphasizes the key role that Asian Pacific American students
can play in supporting labor struggles of low-income immigrants.
This class provides students with hands-on activist training
to help them confront class polarization, which increasingly
is becoming a major feature of Asian Pacific American communities.
Students will receive training in ways that they can use campus
resources, including their academic skills, to support immigrant
class was initiated by Rena Wong, a recent UCLA graduate who
is now working as a union organizer in the San Francisco Bay
Glenn Omatsu, (310) 825-2974 (messages only)
hours: time and place to be announced
Assistant from UCLA Labor Center: Erin OBrien,
Course Reader is required and is available from Course Reader
Materials, 1141 Westwood Blvd., (310) 443-3303
Political tour of one L.A. or Southern California community
where Asian immigrants work and live e.g., Koreatown,
Garment District, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Pilipinotown, Little
Reflection papers, including final internship project report
Internship and project related to internship
of Internships with Community-based Labor Projects:
student will participate in a team with other students in one
of the following community-based labor projects. Part of each
students grade for this course will be based on an assessment
provided by community representatives associated with each project.
Workers Justice Campaign (Koreatown)
Workers Center (downtown L.A.)
Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Mural Project (Note: Approval of project coordinator Steve
Wong needed for participation; e-mail for Steve Wong: email@example.com)
Communications video documentary on labor struggles (Note:
To participate in this internship, a student must have taken
AAS 197A in Winter Quarter, received a grade of A in that
class, and have the approval of project coordinator Leslie
Ito-Wong from Visual Communications.)
provide students with internships with community-based labor
projects and to have students carry out a project that will
materially help the community group;
understand the ways that labor struggles by low-income immigrants
are central to defining the Asian Pacific American experience,
both historically and today;
highlight the significance of community-based labor organizing
strategies in Asian Pacific American communities, both historically
analyze the significance of todays Asian Pacific immigrant
worker campaigns in relation to critical social issues, especially
globalization, immigrant rights, human rights, and womens
and childrens struggles against trafficking
examine class dynamics in todays Asian Pacific American
communities, with a focus on labor struggles of low-income
immigrant workers in Los Angeles;
highlight the importance of interethnic and interracial alliances
created by Asian Pacific immigrant workers in their labor
emphasize the key role that students today armed with Asian
American Studies can play in supporting struggles of low-income
Asian Pacific immigrant workers;
provide activist training for students to work with community
groups, community-based labor groups, unions, and immigrant
workers; this training will address the class privileges of
students in elite institutions such as UCLA and the ways that
they can use campus resources to support the struggles for
justice by immigrant workers.
Responsibilities for this Class:
sure this is a class you really want to take (look over the
syllabus and assignments). This class takes students out of
the "safe zone" of the traditional classroom. Notice,
for example, that there are no tests, and grading for the
class will be partly based on an evaluation given by members
of community organizations. This does not mean that this class
will be easy. On the contrary, students who are used to traditional
academic standards will experience high levels of anxiety
by 7th week. Please carefully consider whether you want to
take this class and accept the responsibilities listed below.
enrolling in this class, each student is making a commitment
to attend class sessions, to do the assigned readings and
reflection papers, and to carry out an internship that will
materially help a community-based labor project.
class requires a considerable amount of work outside the classroom.
for this class is based on each students performance;
I will not grade on a curve. Some students come to this class
with extensive experience in campus activism and familiarity
with off-campus communities; I will expect more from these
students than those with less experience.
a key goal of this class is to encourage students to share
what they are learning with others and to learn from immigrant
workers in our communities. In the late 1960s, the movements
that created Ethnic Studies began with a vision of education
that linked classroom learning to issues in the community.
This vision continues today. Students have a special responsibility
to share their knowledge and resources with others in their
communities, including other campuses. Knowledge is too important
to stay within the classroom. In addition, students at elite
institutions such as UCLA have a special responsibility to
develop the necessary humility to effectively teach and learn
from those in our communities.
Each class session will be divided into three parts:
a lecture and discussion on a topic relating to Asian Pacific
American labor, a student activist training component, and in-class
work related to students internship projects.
April 1 Overview of the significance of immigrant labor
struggles for defining the Asian Pacific American experience,
both historically and today; description of class projects
April 8 Selection by students of community-based labor projects
April 15 Beginning of students community-based labor
May 27 Memorial Day Holiday no class session
June 3 Internship project written reports due
(in Course Reader):
Omatsu, "Asian Pacific American Workers and the Expansion
Omatsu, "Racism or Solidarity? Unions and Asian Immigrant
Vera Cruz, "Profits Enslave the World"
Vera Cruz, "Human Dignity"
Su, "Heed the Call of the Dreamer"
Mogado, "From the Bottom Up: The New Asian Pacific Islander
Bonacich, "Reflections on Asian American Labor"
Wong, "Political Tours: L.A. Garment District and Little
Connie Kang, "Koreatown
Speak Out so That Others May Benefit"
Nguyen, "Showdown in K-town"
Kang, "Rags for Riches: The Exploitation of Immigrant Women
Prashad, "The Day New York Stood Still"
Venugopal, "Invisible No More"
"Poor Quality Immigrants?"
McDonnell, "UC Interns Plunge into Labor Movement: Program
Gives 28 Students Hands-on Experience with Unions and Workers
Kiang and Man Chak Ng, "Through Strength and Struggle:
Bostons Asian American Student/Community/Labor Solidarity"
Brugge and Lydia Lowe, "Asian American Workers in the New
Sen, "The Garment Workers Story"
to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, "Fact Sheet on Trafficking"
Lim, "Organizing Chinese Workers in the 1930s"
Mark Lai, "A Historical Survey of the Chinese Left in America"
Vera Cruz, "An Interview with Philip Vera Cruz"
Yoneda, "One Hundred Years of Japanese Labor in the U.S.A."
Vera Cruz Interview
Galedo and Theresa Quilenderino Mar, "Filipinos in a Farm
Braga and Barbera Morita, "Agbayani Village"
from a Manong"
Resources: Asian American Labor and Related Community Issues
Training Materials for Student Activists
from David Werner and Bill Bower, Helping Health Workers Learn:
A Book of Methods, Aids, and Ideas for Instructors at the Village
to the People! Empowerment and Democracy for Asian Americans
in the New Millennium"
in Small Groups: What Is It? Why Is It So Important?"
Education: A Guide for Asian American