More than 600 Asian Pacific American union members from all across the country came together at the 14th Biennial Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Convention over the summer. Organizing Stewards Alvin Dayoan, Ivan Pereda and Ricardo Hernandez, along with Staff Organizer Jammi Juarez, represented IBEW Local 1245 at the Convention, which took place in Anaheim, CA in late August.
The action-packed conference featured dozens of exhibits, trainings, workshops, orientations and moving keynote speeches from notable labor leaders.
“The speakers were full of energy and very motivating,” said Ricardo Hernandez. “I enjoyed all of the speeches because they were very real and had no fluff. They captured my attention and helped paint the picture of our current situation and tasks at hand.”
Dayoan, Pereda and Hernandez had the unique opportunity to serve as trainers during the Young Workers Leadership Development training session, where they were able to impart the skills and know-how they’ve accumulated as Organizing Stewards on other API up-and-coming young leaders.
“Drawing from the knowledge that we gained through our experiences in campaigns and trainings … we were able to teach participants best practices to win a campaign, and also how to give workers a vision of a union, including analysis of power dynamics between workers and their bosses,” said Alvin Dayoan.
Other convention highlights included a solidarity march and vigil for Charlottesville, and the election of new national APALA leadership. Local 1245’s own Jammi Juarez was elected to serve as an APALA Executive Board Member-at-Large.
While the convention programs were engaging and dynamic, the Local 1245 delegates found that thebest part of the experience was simply meeting and connecting with other API union members.
“I found we all had very similar stories, and it all encompassed labor issues and basic civil rights from across the globe,” said Hernandez. “What was empowering was that no story was presented as a competition of who struggled the most, but how we all struggled collectively in many different categories. There was a clear and common goal on how to help and engage the API (Asian/Pacific Islanders) community to stand for what is right, and to demand fair treatment at work and in our communities by elected officials.”
“Every time I go to this convention, my favorite part is seeing everyone from all the unions, especially my IBEW family,” added Ivan Pereda. “I always get encouraged and inspired to keep fighting and educating people about our labor movement.”
“My overall experience at the APALA convention was remarkable, and provided me with valuable learning experience that I can use to educate our fellow brothers and sisters,” said Dayoan. “I would like to thank IBEW 1245 for allowing me the opportunity to participate in a rewarding and mobilizing event.”