- 1 Background
- 2 Activism
- 3 Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared”
- 4 Japan coonection
- 5 CFT Executive Council
- 6 Communist Workers Party
- 7 "Survival Day 84" staff members
- 8 Anti Prop. 209 rally
- 9 Labor education
- 10 DSA connections
- 11 Serve the People Conference on Asian American Community Activism
- 12 Pro-China article - New Labor Forum
- 13 China trips, 2002
- 14 China trips 2007
- 15 Vietnam trip, 2007
- 16 Vietnam trip, 2008
- 17 Vietnam trip, 2011
- 18 Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
- 19 Liberty Hill Foundation
- 20 National Jobs For All Coalition
- 21 "A conversation with Judy Chu and Jean Quan"
- 22 Asian Pacific American workers’ rights hearings
- 23 Anti-WalMart activism
- 24 White House guest
- 25 New Labor Forum
- 26 Harry Bridges Project Advisory Board
- 27 "Sweatshop Slaves"
- 28 Vietnam Solidarity Network
- 29 2016 labor delegation to Vietnam
- 30 UALE Vietnam workshop
- 31 New World Foundation
- 32 NWF Board Members
- 33 References
Kent Douglas Wong is Director of the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA, where he teaches Labor Studies and Asian American Studies.
Kent regularly addresses labor, community, civil rights, university and student conferences throughout the country. He writes extensively on labor issues, and co-edited a book entitled Teaching for Change: Popular Education and the Labor Movement. He has published two other books: Voices for Justice: Asian Pacific American Organizers and the New American Labor Movement, which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese, and Voices from the Front Lines: Organizing Immigrant Workers in Los Angeles, a bilingual English-Spanish publication that is now in its second printing.
Kent Wong is the son of Judge Delbert Wong, perhaps known best for his tangential role as a “special master” for defense evidence in the O.J. Simpson case. However, Wong actually holds a far more important place in history as both the first Chinese-American California Deputy Legislative Counsel in the United States and, upon his 1959 appointment by Governor Earl Warren, the first judge of Chinese descent in the continental United States.
Kent Wong attended the Los Angeles based Peoples College of Law. The school was founded in 1974 by the radical National Lawyers Guild, with the assistance of the Asian Law Collective, the La Raza National Lawyer’s Association, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers .
Following his graduation from PCL and his 1984 bar passage, Wong was hired as the first staff attorney of the fledgling Asian Pacific American Legal Center for Southern California (founded in 1983). In time, Wong moved up to a staff attorney position for the Service Employees International Union Local 660, one of the more powerful union locals in the state. After starting work with UCLA, Wong also helped organize and served as the first president (from 1992-1997) of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the first national labor organization for Asian Americans and a unit of the AFL-CIO.
Kent Wong served as the Founding President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, the first national organization of Asian union members and workers. He previously was staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union, #660, representing Los Angeles County workers. Wong also worked as the first staff attorney for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, where he developed programs to serve the needs of Asian American workers.
Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared”
Open Letter to the Biden Campaign on “Unprepared” was released May 12 2020.
":Our demands: The country’s greatest priority at this moment is to beat the COVID-19 crisis, and this requires embracing principles of antiracist solidarity and international cooperation. The Biden campaign can and should beat Trump and the GOP with a message centered on our real public health needs and the progressive values that are required to meet those needs. The “Unprepared” ad must be taken down, and all campaign messaging that fuels anti-Asian racism and China-bashing must end. We refuse to allow the Biden campaign to sacrifice our dignity in the name of political expediency."
Signatories included Kent Wong, UCLA Labor Center.
Arlene Inouye June 27, 2016 · Osaka, Japan
I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity and thank the Japanese union activists for taking care of every part of my visit including translators and various modes of transportation. Just as we discussed the foundation of one-on-one organizing, and the importance of relationships, I experienced deep international solidarity that we share as brothers and sisters across the Pacific. This is a critical juncture for the future of Japan.
— with Sam Winslow, Tracy Lai, Minori Yoneyama, Eriko Kojima, Gregory Cendana, Kent Wong, Johanna Hester, Kim Geron, Monica Thammarath, Darren Shiroma, Susan Li, Minh Tran, Stan Kiino, Wade Kyle, Luisa Blue, Jessica Cendana, Steven Moy, Ray Takeda, Theresa Montano, Eric Heins, David Goldberg, Cesar Moreno, Mary Cathryn Ricker, Kristy Ishii, Kenji Kurazawa.
CFT Executive Council
The 2013 Executive Council of the California Federation of Teachers consists of the above listed officers, plus the following Vice-presidents:
- Velma J. Butler, Local 1521A
- Cathy Campbell, Local 1078
- Robert Chacanaca, Local 6084
- Kimberly Claytor, Local 1794
- Melinda Dart, Local 3267
- Warren Fletcher, Local 1021
- Betty Forrester, Local 1021
- Ray Gaer, Local 2317
- Miki Goral, Local UC-AFT
- Carolyn Ishida, Local 2071
- Kathy Jasper, Local 957
- Dennis Kelly, Local 61
- Elaine Merriweather, Local 61
- Alisa Messer, Local 2121
- David Mielke Local 1343
- Dean Murakami, Local 2279
- Francisco Rodriguez, Local 1936
- Linda Sneed, Local 2279
- Joanne Waddell, Local 1521
- Carl Williams, Local 4529
- Kent Wong, Local UC-AFT
- David Yancey, Local 6157
Communist Workers Party
"Survival Day 84" staff members
Anti Prop. 209 rally
Wong appeared at an October 22, 1998 anti-Prop. 209 rally with the estimable likes of Rev. Jesse Jackson, ‘60s radical and then-State Senators Tom Hayden and Richard Polanco, and Tom Saenz of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund.
At the rally, Wong told the crowd of 500, “Affirmative action has made UCLA a stronger institution,” and scolded, “When they talk about eliminating affirmative action, they’re talking about rolling back all our gains from the civil rights movement.” Then, reflecting on UCLA affirmative action’s role in launching the careers of his PCL classmates Antonio Villaraigosa and Gilbert Cedillo, Wong declaimed, “They got in because of affirmative action. And [people] will tell you they weren’t qualified? Give me a break!”
From 2000 – 2002, Kent served as the President of the United Association for Labor Education, a national organization of labor educators from unions and universities. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Worker Education Associations. Wong has been actively developing international labor exchange programs in the Pacific Rim with China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea.
In 2001, Democratic Left editor Joseph Schwartz interviewed two of the leading academic experts on immigration and labor— Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology at UCLA, and Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center—and discussed the recent changes in the AFL-CIO’s policy toward immigration and the successes the labor movement has had in organizing immigrant workers in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
- DSA is having a house party at the home of Ron Baiman...on Wednesday, July 27, 7 PM, to raise badly needed monies. Our special guests will be Harold Meyerson (DSA Vice Chair and Editor-at-large of The American Prospect), Kent Wong (Director, UCLA Labor Center), and Frank Llewellyn (Director, DSA).
LA DSA conference
An "insurgent" Hilda Solis was a keynote speaker at the 2005 Democratic Socialists of America national conference "Twenty-First Century Socialism" in Los Angeles, with DSA leaders Peter Dreier and Harold Meyerson.
- Saturday evening delegates recognized the contributions of DSA vice chair and Washington Post]columnist Harold Meyerson, Occidental College sociologist and longtime DSAer Peter Dreier and insurgent California Congress member Hilda Solis (D) who in turn provided in-depth perspectives of the political scene.
Socialists organize to "challenge for power" in Los Angeles
Tarzynski listed 25 people he thought should be on an "A-list" of "25 or so leaders/activists/intellectuals and/or "eminent persons" who would gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power."
Tarzynski listed himself, Harold Meyerson, Karen Bass, Sylvia Castillo, Gary Phillips, Joe Hicks, Richard Rothstein, Steve Cancian, Larry Frank, Torie Osborn, Rudy Acuna, Aris Anagnos, Abby Arnold, Carl Boggs, Blase Bonpane, Rick Brown, Stanley Sheinbaum, Alice Callahan, Jim Conn, Peter Dreier, Maria Elena Durazo, Miguel Contreras, Mike Davis, Bill Gallegos, Bob Gottlieb, Kent Wong, Russell Jacoby, Bong Hwan Kim, Paula Litt (and Barry Litt, with a question mark), Peter Olney, Derek Shearer, Clancy Sigal and Anthony Thigpenn.
Included in a suggested elected officials sub-group were Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Romero, Jackie Goldberg, Gil Cedillo, Tom Hayden, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Rosenstein and Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters.
Tarzynski went on to write "I think we should limit the group to 25 max, otherwise group dynamics begins to break down....As i said, I would like this to take place in a nice place with good food and drink...it should properly be an all day event."
The Next Agenda Conference
Progressive LA: The Next Agenda Conference was held On October 20, 2001 in Los Angeles at the California Science Center.
The Progressive Los Angeles Network (PLAN) and the Institute for America’s Future "will co-sponsor an important conference -- the Next Agenda Conference -- designed to celebrate recent victories, build upon Los Angeles’ progressive momentum, and link local issues with a national progressive agenda. The conference will also help solidify a more strategic and integrated progressive movement in Los Angeles".
Speakers included Kent Wong, UC Labor
Progressive Los Angeles Network
Serve the People Conference on Asian American Community Activism
The 1998 Serve the People Conference on Asian American Community Activism featured a mix of roundtable discussions, designed to provoke thought and debate on "large" questions facing all activists, and workshops and panels designed for activists in similar areas of work to open lines of communication with one another and to share lessons garnered through struggle. The choice of speakers was based primarily on their grassroots community work but also on concerns to have diverse geographic, ethnic, gender, and generational representation. A highlight of the conference was the opening panel on "Interracial Unity and the Struggle for Liberation," in which longtime, history-making activists Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama espoused upon why they have remained committed to revolutionary politics for decades.
With years of dedication to the Black Freedom Movement, both Boggs and Kochiyama served as living examples of the importance of unity among people of color. Boggs shared theoretical and practical insights from her highly praised autobiography Living for Change, which was a popular seller at the conference. Kochiyama brought the capacity crowd to its feet with her impassioned call to "Serve the people at the bottom... the people at the top don’t need your help!" They were joined by local activists Leon Watson and Bill Gallegos, veterans of the African American and Chicano movements, respectively. This inspirational opening plenary served to impart a radical tone to the proceedings and to bring out the best in participants, allowing the conference to maintain a pleasantly non-sectarian atmosphere throughout. The next morning, veteran activists of numerous since-dissolved cadre organizations engaged in a friendly yet critical conversation on the legacy of the Asian American Movement with some admittedly having not made contact with one another for upwards of 25 years. Overall, "Serve the People" provided an opportunity to interact with some of the most prominet community activists from around the country including Anannya Bhattacharjee of New York’s Workers Awaaz, Debbie Wei of Philadelphia’s Asian Americans United, Eric Mar of the Bay Area’s Asian Pacific Islanders for Community Empowerment, Jane Bai of New York’s Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, Joe Navidad of BAYAN-International, Kent Wong of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Meizhu Lui of Boston’s Health Care for All, Miriam Ching Louie of Berkeley’s Women of Color Resource Center.
Pro-China article - New Labor Forum
- On May 24, 2000, the American labor movement suffered a significant defeat in their attempt to block Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status for China. The House of Representatives voted 237-197 to approve PNTR for China. This was the labor movement’s largest legislative campaign in years, which mobilized resources of the American labor movement from coast to coast. But was this the best step to take on the heels of the powerful anti-WTO coalition that emerged in Seattle last November?
- For the U.S. to challenge China’s entry into the WTO because of political and human rights abuse amounts to hypocrisy. China should not be singled out for some of the very same human rights abuses that occur in the U.S., such as widespread use of prison labor...
- With or without PNTR trade with China is increasing, and relations between our two countries will grow. Labor needs to encourage critical engagement with China, not isolation. This does include criticism of China’s human rights practice. But China is too important for the US labor movement to simply speak to via the US media alone. The American labor movement should take a bold step and seek to open up dialogue and cultivate relationships with workers and trade unions in China. While American labor leaders should continue to meet with Chinese political dissidents, it would also be important to meet with other union leaders and workers in China....
- Through engaging in more dialogue and exchange with Chinese workers and unions, the American labor movement could identify new leaders of China who embrace a similar perspective on global corporate domination, and the need to defend human rights and labor rights.
- The main threat to economic security, dignity and human rights of U.S. workers is domestic and global corporations and their institutions: the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank. We need to keep our eyes on the prize, move beyond the Cold War, move beyond unilateralism, and move toward genuine international labor solidarity.
China trips, 2002
Wong and a delegation that included Elaine Bernard and a number of other labor academics and union officials, were invited by the state-run All China Federation of Trade Unions for a nine-day trip beginning March 20, 2002.
Wong was back in October of 2002, heading an all-star group that included California Labor Federation president Tom Rankin, SEIU national president Andy Stern, and two other labor union officials. On this trip, Wong and Co. enjoyed an audience by Wei Jianxing, ACFTU chairman and member of the Politburo Standing Committee.
The delegation, also included Paul Booth, who is assistant to the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, had its expenses within China paid for by the government-controlled Chinese “union.”
The American labor federation, the AFL-CIO, has distanced itself from the actions of Messrs. Stern and Booth, saying that the federation’s policy toward the All China Federation of Trade Unions remains unchanged.
The purpose of the China trip was “to explore possible ways of having a dialogue and communication between unions,” said the director of the University of California at Los Angeles’s Center for Labor Research and Education, delegation leader Kent Wong, who led the delegation.
He said that the delegation was not trying to represent the AFL-CIO and that even though the All China Federation of Trade Unions is not a free or independent union, “it is in the mutual interest of unions and workers in both countries to have a relationship.
“I wanted to break a pretty severe barrier that has been there since the Cold War,” he said.
In addition to Messrs. Wong, Stern, and Booth, those traveling to Communist China included the president of the California Labor Federation, Tom Rankin, and the president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and president of California-based SEIU Local 121, Luisa Blue.
Mr. Booth’s wife, Heather Booth, who worked at the Democratic National Committee in 1995 and 1996, also made the trip. The group visited a school, a hospital, and Ford Motors’ joint-venture plant and met with officials from the Ministry of Health, as was reported in the South China Morning Post.
They also met with Wei Jianxing, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau (politburo) and the president of the government-controlled All China Federation of Trade Unions.
Mr. Wei is also head of the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. In 1998, he was put in charge of what is known as the Office on Social Stability, which is responsible for defusing worker unrest.
An article in the Spring 2001 edition of the China Labor Bulletin said that Mr. Wei has frequently traveled across China encouraging the Chinese government’s anti-graft campaign and its anti-crime campaign, “Strike Hard,” which “has been consistently criticized by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations for leading to rights violations, brutality, and executions.”
In response to the article in the South China Morning Post, which made it appear as though the delegation was officially representing the AFL-CIO, the director of the AFL-CIO’s international affairs department, Barbara Shailor, penned a terse letter to the editor.
“The visit…did not in any way represent the views of or a change in AFL-CIO policy regarding China and the ACFTU. The AFL-CIO shares the view with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which represents over 157 million workers in 148 countries, that the ACFTU is not an independent trade union but rather part of Chinese government and party structure,” Ms. Shailor wrote.
Ms. Shailor told The New York Sun: “In terms of the recognition of parity between trade union movements, the ACFTU is a very much an arm of a government, not a partner trade union organization.”
“We don’t think it’s helpful to people who are trying to organize real, democratic unions. We’re not against people talking, but we would not have had an official delegation…it is wrong for people who want free trade unionism,” Mr. Dorn said.
China trips 2007
Kent Wong participated in a historic delegation of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor to establish formal relations with the Shanghai Municipal Trade Union Council. In July 2007, the delegation was led by Maria Elena Durazo and met with union leaders in Shanghai and Beijing, visited four different worksites, and met with labor representatives at the national, provincial, municipal, and local levels.
This was the first time a U.S. central labor council has established sister-city relations with a central labor council in China. In the last year, unions in China have successfully organized seventy Wal-Mart stores and four hundred McDonalds and KFC restaurants. China adopted new labor laws strengthening worker rights the week before the L.A. County Federation of Labor arrived in China.
The L.A. County Federation of Labor met with the Shanghai Teachers Union president and discussed a new proposal to establish an exchange program for high school teachers and students between the two cities that would begin in 2008.
During the visit to the Port of Shanghai, representatives of the ILWU and the Shanghai Maritime Union discussed working conditions and health and safety issues of the dock workers, and pledged to strengthen relations between their unions.
California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz returned from Shanghai, China November 6, 2007, as part of a weeklong conference titled: "China, Australia, and the United States Teaching Unions on Education Work."
The delegation was hosted by Xia Lingying, President of the Shanghai Teachers' Union which represents all teachers from kindergarten through post-graduate work. A delegation from the Shanghai Teachers Union visited Los Angeles six weeks ago and extended the invitation to the American contingent at that time. In addition to the US delegation representatives from the Queensland Teachers Union and the Queensland Independent Education Union of Australia also participated in the conference.
China trip, 2009 - "Partnership with Chinese Unions"
Kent Wong's UCLA Labor Center participated in a historic meeting between the Change to Win federation and the All China Federation of Trade Unions in August 2009. An agreement signed by CtW Chair Anna Burger and ACFTU Vice Chairwoman Sun Chunlan at ACFTU headquarters in Beijing promotes cooperation between the two federations on key projects, such as joint research on multinational corporations operating in the United States and China.
It was the first time in history that such an agreement has been signed between trade union federations in the two countries.
The UCLA Labor Center pledged work with SEIU and the Teamsters, as well as with ACFTU, to conduct research on labor standards, labor law enforcement, and collective agreements in the multiservice, express delivery, and commercial banking industries. In late 2010, the Labor Center will participate in a binational US-China confer- ence, hosted by the ACFTU, to explore ways research findings can improve labor standards.
In Beijing, Andy Stern and Kent Wong met with faculty members from the Labor Relations College of Renmin University and also visited the Migrant Workers’ Center.
In addition to Anna Burger, the US delegation included SEIU President Andy Stern, CSEA Executive Director Josie Mooney, Ginny Coughlin from SEIU, and UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong. Labor Center staff member Scott E. Myers served as the delegation’s Chinese interpreter.
China trip, 2010
Kent Wong led an education union trip to China in 2010.
The delegation visited Shanghai, where it was hosted by the Shanghai Teachers Union. Kent Wong, AFT President Gus Goldstein and CFT Community College Council President Carl Friedlander, all CFT Executive Council members, participated in the signing of a partnership and exchange agreement between CFT and the Shanghai Teach ers Union, and were joined on the delegation by leaders of the California Faculty Association and California School Employees Association.
Links to Chinese unions
Vietnam trip, 2007
On 10 December 2007, at the VGCL headquarters, Mr. Nguyen Hoa Binh, VGCL Senior Vice President awarded the Medal "For the Cause of Building the Trade Union organization" to Professor Kent Wong, Director of the Center for Labor Research of the University of California, Los Angeles.
- ...as an active activist of US trade union movement, Professor Kent Wong has made efforts for helping Vietnamese trade unions to contact and step by step establish links with trade union organisations such as: Change-To-Win Federation (CTW), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (UNITE-HERE); Labour Associations in Los Angeles. His works showed a noble heart, a valuable sentiment of solidarity to Vietnamese workers and trade unions."
"It is my great honour to be given the noblest award from the Vietnam trade union movement. I will try my best to further promote relationship of cooperation between trade union movement of Vietnam and the US", said Professor Kent Wong at the ceremony.
Vietnam trip, 2008
In November, 2008, on a visit visit to Vietnam, a delegation of US trade unions led by Professor Kent Wong, Director of the Center for Labor Research of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was warmly received by Mr. Dang Quang Dieu, Member of Presidium, Deputy Director of Socio-Economic Policies Department of the VGCL.
Mr. Dang Quang Dieu highly valued the visit of the delegation, considered it a new development step in the cooperative relationship between trade union movements of the two countries. He provided the delegation with information of the success of the 10th National Congress of Vietnamese Trade Unions as well as the socio-economic situation and trade union activities over past time.
Vietnam trip, 2011
In April 2011 Tim Paulson, of the San Francisco Labor Council traveled to Vietnam, on business and pleasure. In Vietnam Paulson met with his friend Kent Wong, from the UCLA Labor Studies Department. Wong arrived in Hanoi the same night Paulson arrived, along with Elaine Bernard, Chair of the Harvard Trade Union Program; Abel Valenzuela, Jr., Chair of the UCLA Cesar Chavez Chicano Studies Department; and Greg Mantsios, Director of the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies at The City University of New York.
The group was picked up by leaders from the national Vietnamese General Federation of Trade Unions whom Paulson had visited with Kent Wong three years previously. The San Francisco and Alameda Labor Councils and the Asian Pacific American Labor Association have twice hosted leaders from the VGTU for labor exchanges as well. Wong had organized this conference with American and Vietnamese labor scholars to exchange ideas regarding organizing policy, the role of labor education and labor law between the two countries—one country controlled by capital and the other gradually allowing corporations to “invest” in its economy. They invited Paulson to participate before he continued his vacation. 
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
According to Kent Wong, writing in "Legacy to Liberation: Politics & Culture of Revolutionary Asian Pacific America" by Carol Antonio, page 90-91;
- The formation of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) in 1992 was a milestone in providing a voice for Asian Americans within the labor movement...The establishment of APALA has its roots in the Asian American Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
- Revolutionary movements of the 1960s and 1970s, domestically and internationally nurtured the Asian American Movement...Asian American activists were involved in the civil rights movement and the movement against the Vietnam War...Asian Americans led and joined Marxist study groups around the country. Asian American activists gained inspiration from the Vietnamese struggle for liberation, and from the Chinese revolution and the teachings of Mao Zedong.
- Asian American activists played prominent roles in a number of emerging Marxist-Leninist organizations in the 1970s...Many Asian American activists left college to work as grass roots organizers in the Asian American community, or to seek jobs in factories, to build a workers movement.
- In the 1980s, Asian activists began to set up Asian labor committees in key cities around the country...From 10091 to 1992, there were a series of national meetings of Asian American trade unionists...The founding convention of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance in 1992, surpassed everyone's expectations...
Matt Finucane from the Flight Attendants Union, was hired as APALA's first Executive Director.
Liberty Hill Foundation
As at 2009, Kent Wong was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.
National Jobs For All Coalition
"A conversation with Judy Chu and Jean Quan"
This event was held Sunday July 10, 2011, Empress Pavilion, LA Chinatown.
The Host Committee consisted of
- Rep. Judy Chu, US Congresswoman
- Mike Eng, California Assemblymember
- Stewart Kwoh
- Kent Wong
- Jose Zapata Calderon
- Jai Lee
Asian Pacific American workers’ rights hearings
On May 17, 2002 an Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance public hearing was held at the Monterey Park City Hall. This event was symbolic for the Asian Pacific American Immigrant community because it was the first hearing held over the issues of Asian Pacific American labor. It was also the first big wave of public appearances for thecommunity. The hearing included two panels of speakers. The first panel included speakers from various organizations, such as Kent Wong and Judy Chu.
2009 Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance hearing
On November 13, 2009, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance convened the first National Asian Pacific American Worker’s Rights Hearing, a historic gathering of over 200 APA trade unionists and community allies. The hearing was convened in the Samuel Gompers room of the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington D.C. APAs nationwide spoke about challenges they faced in exercising their right to organize including employer intimidation, immigrant worker exploitation, health and safety violations, wage theft and union suppression – while also highlighting the strategies that individual workers and unions have developed in the fight for worker solidarity and economic justice
These worker testimonies, policy solutions, and additional research were presented in APALA's groundbreaking report, Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence, which was published in 2010.
Over 200 people from across the country attended this historic hearing.
The hearing was co-convened by APALA and the AFL-CIO, in partnership with over 20 national and local organizations, to provide the first national platform for APA workers focused on the right to organize and the rights of immigrant workers.
Hearing panelists included:
- Congresswoman Judy Chu
- AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler
- Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor Mary Beth Maxwell
- APALA President John Delloro
- Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta
- UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong
- University of Maryland - Asian American Studies Department Director Larry Shinagawa
- United States Student Association President (at the time of the hearing) Gregory Cendana
Saturday, April 9th, 2011, at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 East 1st St., Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance held a hearing on the the stories and testimonies of Asian Pacific American workers and their struggles to organize. Features panels on healthcare, immigrant rights, and the involvement of youth in the labor movement. The event included performances by Progressive Taiko and KIWA’s Cultural Resistance Committee drumming group.
- Congresswoman Judy Chu
- Gregory Cendana (APALA, Executive Director)
- Kent Wong (UCLA Labor Center, Director)
Wong has been a prominent voice in the anti-Wal-Mart campaigns for the past several years. Most prominently, the UCLA Labor Center held a conference titled “Is Wal-Mart Good for America?” on June 4, 2005. According to the Labor Center’s website, the conference “was the culmination of a six-month Community Scholars class during which a dozen labor and community leaders worked with UCLA graduate students on a research project to determine the impact of Wal-Mart on the national and international economy.”
White House guest
New Labor Forum
New Labor Forum is published by Center for Labor, Community, and Policy Studies, Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies.
Editorial Board members listed, as of March 2013; were; Elaine Bernard, Ron Blackwell, Barbara Bowen, Kate Bronfenbrenner, Arthur Cheliotes, Mike Davis, Amy Dean, Steve Early, Hector Figueroa, Janice Fine, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Marie Gottschalk, Gerald Hudson, Lisa Jordan, Tom Juravich, Robin D G Kelley, Jose LaLuz, Nelson Lichtenstein, Manning Marable, Ruth Needleman, Ai-jen Poo, Katie Quan, Adolph Reed, Daisy Rooks, Andrew Ross, Kent Wong.
Harry Bridges Project Advisory Board
As of 2014 Kent Wong served on the The Harry Bridges Project Advisory Board. The project was formed to promote the work an ideals of the late Harry Bridges, an iconic Bay Area labor leader and one time secret member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA.
Sweatshop Slaves: Asian Americans in the Garment Industry
The first student publication to capture the role of Asian American workers in the sweatshop industry.
Edited by Kent Wong and Julie Monroe
Featuring essays by
- Helen Chien, Garment Center Worker
- Kimi Lee, Garment Center Worker
- Joann Lo, Garment Worker Center
- Chancee Martorell, Thai Community Development Center
- Julie Su, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
- Rojana Cheunchujit Sussman, El Monte Slave Shop Activist
This book highlights the structure and organization of the garment industry, the history of sweatshops, the organizations and organizing campaigns that have worked to eradicate sweatshops, and brief oral histories of key leaders in the movement. There is also special coverage of the infamous El Monte sweatshop, where seventy-two Asian American workers were freed from modern-day slavery in 1995.The book is the product of students enrolled in a UCLA course entitled "Work, Labor, and Social Justice," working in conjunction with the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education.
Vietnam Solidarity Network
Over 40 young Vietnamese-Americans and six US labor leaders and activists met at the UCLA Labor Center near downtown Los Angeles October 25 2014, to discuss the growing relationships between workers in the United States and workers in Vietnam. The report-back was given by the Vietnam Solidarity Network, a project initiated by UCLA Labor Center, in alliance with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) and the Southern California Viet Gathering (SCVG). The meeting was chaired by Natalie Newton, a Vietnamese-American with the Service Employees International Union Local 721 in LA, and a leader of both the Los Angeles APALA and SCVG.
Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center and a vice president of the California Federation of Teachers, explained that Vietnam opened part of its economy in the mid-1980's to foreign companies and privately owned Vietnamese firms. This greatly helped raise people's living standards. But it also brought new problems such as difficult working conditions especially at many foreign firms. Since workers in all countries are suffering, the solution is to build international labor solidarity to help each other, Wong said. Wong is co-author of the book, "Organizing on Separate Shores," about Vietnamese, and Vietnamese-American union organizers, published by an arm of the Labor Center.
2016 labor delegation to Vietnam
Kent Wong led Howard Kling, Julio Perez, Joe Berry, Hollis Stewart, An Le, Helen Worthen, John Grant, Gene Carroll, Leanna Noble, Richard Barrera, Albert Lowe, and Emil de Guzman, on a labor delegation to Vietnam, in January 2016.
In January 2016, a 13 member labor delegation visited Vietnam to help build a lasting relationship between Vietnamese and U.S. unions and labor educators. The group visited with the Vietnamese General Confederation of Labor, two labor universities, the Vietnam Women's Academy, factories and local unions. The group connected with four U.S. labor educators who have been teaching labor relations in Vietnam through an exchange arranged by delegation leader, Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center. The delegation participated in the first ever joint U.S./Vietnamese seminar and dialog on trade and the TPP at Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh City.
UALE Vietnam workshop
Participants in the UALE Vietnam workshop, April 2016. From left: Gene Carroll, Don Taylor, Jean Dearden, Victor Narro, Joe Berry, Michael Maurer, Randy Croce, Kent Wong, Monica Bielski Boris, Helen Worthen, Howard Kling, Attley Chock, Katherine Scacciatano, Amy Livingston, Megan Fissel.
New World Foundation
In 2016 Kent Wong was chairman of the board of the New World Foundation.
NWF Board Members
Board members September 2018:
- Julia Goodridge - CHAIR
- Peggy Saika - VICE CHAIR
- Jonathan Glionna - TREASURER
- Fred Azcarate - SECRETARY
- Kent Wong - MEMBER
- Lisa Abbott - MEMBER
- Sofia Campos - MEMBER
- Bill Dempsey - MEMBER
- Anthony Thigpenn - MEMBER
- David Harrison - MEMBER
- Maria Echaveste - EMERITUS
- /profs/wong.html, UCLA profs.com, Kent Wong, Asian-American Studies
- SPARC mural bio, accessed Jan 8, 2012
- [NBC News, Date: 11/10/80 ,Title: CONTROVERSY OVER THE COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY]
- /profs/wong.html, UCLA profs.com, Kent Wong, Asian-American Studies
- Democratic Left • Fall-Winter 2001
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