AFGE embraces federal workers of all races and backgrounds, and since the AFGE National Executive Council adopted a resolution last November establishing a new constituency group called APOWER, which stands for Asian Pacific Organized Workers Empowering Representation, APOWER has been busy organizing Asian American Pacific Islander workers in the federal and D.C. governments. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in America and a force to be reckoned with.
“Organizing AAPI workers in the federal government is important because we need to have a critical mass so that we can have a seat at the labor movement table,” said APOWER Chair Dennis Chong, who is also the newly elected president of Social Security Administration Local 3615, serving Social Security Administration employees in Falls Church, VA.
“We also need to have a union that reflects the diversity of the American public we dutifully serve. This benefits not just our union siblings of Asian descent, but the entire federation as a whole because we all know that there is strength in numbers.”
APOWER recently met at the 2022 Diversity Week and Human Rights Training Conference in New Orleans. They discussed several issues, including funding, programming, and turning out AAPI members to vote for elections. The group has two more meetings before the November midterm elections.
APOWER officers told attendees they were open to supporting locals with educating, organizing, and mobilizing members through virtual lunch and learns or Zoom.
Despite challenges, APOWER members are optimistic about the future as they see themselves as being at the start of the movement to not only organize and bring more AAPI federal and D.C. government workers into the labor movement, but also to mobilize and activate their members to understand the principles of solidarity and unionism.
“We are just getting started and have a long way to go, but we are going to build this foundation brick by brick, one member at a time!” the APOWER chair added.