API Caucus gears up for political battles ahead

September 26, 2018

This year the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Caucus plans to encourage members to get educated and get involved!

We kicked off the year in March, when a bus filled with members of the API caucus traveled to Albany to lobby the New York State elected officials to secure funding for our healthcare in the face of drastic cuts from Washington, D.C.

A couple of months later, we hosted an educational forum in recognition of Asian Heritage Month in May to talk about the issues that matter to us. We discussed pressing problems like the climate crisis, the Supreme Court’s union-busting Janus decision, and the ongoing fight for racial justice. Speakers from 1199 and SEIU locals around the country took part. Over 100 members from different institutions attended and there were lively discussions between members and speakers.

In June, we hosted the New York and New Jersey health clinics for outreach to the local community. Every year, our 1199SEIU RNs dedicate their time and expertise to the community by providing free health screening to help make sure our members have the tools and information to help them stay healthy. Everyone who came to our clinic had their glucose and cholesterol levels checked and were given advice about what to do if they are elevated. The well-attended clinic helped to reinforce the fact in addition to organizing workers for good wages and benefits, we also care about our communities.

In July, we hosted a book launch at the 1199 headquarters in Manhattan for the Pilipino author Manuel Lahoz and his memoir, “Of Tyrants and Martyrs.” The author said at the July event: “We who have survived make this vow and promise that Martial Law and the rule of tyrants and dictators must never happen in our country again.”

In August, the Caucus hosted the educational forum on the new “Public Charge” rules and how they may affect members and their families. The rules will require immigration officials to ask about any public assistance, such as Section 8 housing or food stamps, when they are determining legal status. This means that immigrants now risk being deemed a “Public Charge,” which could disqualify them from obtaining legal residence. Nearly 200 API home care members attended our forum and submitted comments about the new rules and the effect they would have on working families.

Later in the month, we also focused our attention on turning the tide of politics at the national level and worked to educate our Chinese speaking home care workers about the importance of the midterm elections. We have also been working hard to register voters, and we signed up members to help get out the vote in the primaries and beyond.

In New York State, our union has endorsed Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and the first Black woman to run for Attorney General, Letitia “Tish” James. We have recruited over 68 API home care volunteers to staff phone banks, canvas door-to-door, as well as promoting our endorsed candidates at poll sites and subway stations.

We are registering citizens who are eligible to be voters in November. In addition, we are already preparing and recruiting volunteers get out the vote for the Weekend Warriors Program as well as the Midterm elections in November to WIN BIG and take back our country.

In September, Career, Mobility and Partnership known as CMP, community-based organization held a job fair in Chinatown inviting our 1199 SEIU Employment Center as a participant job provider to promote union healthcare jobs and the benefits that its offer. Many job seekers have shown tremendous interest and lined up at the table to ask questions and submitted their resumes.

Later in the same month, we also are very proud to announce and welcome one of our own API caucus leader, Lucy Chen to be our new chief financial officer for our union.

If you are interested in learning more about the API Caucus or joining us, please click here: https://www.1199seiu.org/caucus

Looking forward to hearing from you!