Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus

Welcome to the first issue of the SEIU-AAPI Caucus. We are a diverse, talented, hardworking and committed community of organizers and member leaders of Asian and Pacific Islander descent from various Locals and the IU. We believe that our caucus will be an effective instrument not only in highlighting the significant contributions of the AAPI community in SEIU but also in addressing the particular needs and concerns of our community in our common fight for justice and equality. We are on FB and if you are SEIU of AAPI descent, please get in touch with our editorial board so we can add you to our growing mailing list.

Monthly Newsletter

December 2015 (PDF)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On May 12, a major earthquake hit Nepal at magnitude 7.3, destroying more buildings and homes weakened from the first massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck northwest of Nepal's capital city Kathmandu on April 25th.

The latest reports indicate that 7,885 deaths and 17,803 injuries have been sustained. Many of the survivors face total loss of their homes and livelihoods, with 284,455 homes destroyed, and another 234,102 reported damaged.

This extensive loss of life and property has been met with an outpouring of support from the international community including global union federations Public Services International and UNI Global Union.

Across our SEIU family Local Unions, the Nurse Alliance, and our AAPI Caucus are in action to support relief efforts. We are in contact with global union federations Public Services International and UNI along with other organizations to obtain more information on how we can contribute to relief efforts and offer assistance needed by our Nepal union families.

The International Union has set up a fund for our Local Unions and members to support relief efforts in Nepal. To contribute, Locals may direct donations by check to:

ATT: Nepal Fund
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20036

Amado David at 310.845.5036 or by email to or Jigme Ugen at (612) 812-5846 or by email to

We have been working with Jigme Ugen, the Executive Vice President of Healthcare Minnesota, who has immediate family and friends directly affected by the earthquake. He shared this with me in the days following the first earthquake:

We have members from Nepal in Minnesota, and I am aware of members from that region in both the East and West coasts of our Union. My immediate family members and friends living in the epicenter of the earthquake have been directly affected. Fortunately, they are all safe. But the same cannot be said of the country. Tens and thousands of people have been affected, and the constant risk of diarrheal diseases, including uncontainable outbreak of cholera is extremely high. The people I talk to in Nepal have assured me that they have not lost their spirit of resilience, and are committed to rebuilding their country. But they need help.

I have been at awe and thankful at how our Union supported the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the Haiti earthquake. I am appealing for a similar intervention so that an immediate campaign can be launched to help heal and rebuild Nepal.

We are inspired by the courageous spirit of our union members led by our Nepalese brothers and sisters who are not defeated by this tragedy, but instead are looking for ways to restore and rebuild together.

In Solidarity,

Mary Kay Henry

SEIU Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus Launched!

Some 36 AAPI leaders from 14 SEIU locals with a high concentration of AAPI members met April 16 in Los Angeles to re-launch our SEIU AAPI caucus. At the meeting we reaffirmed our commitment to engage our AAPI members on key issues facing our members and communities.

Here are powerful reasons why:

  1. The growing AAPI vote is key to a progressive agenda and winning reforms on health care, good jobs, a safe environment, immigration reform and an economy that works for all. AAPI Voting Snapshot Right Now:
    • 18.9 million Asian American Pacific Islanders live in the U.S.
    • There are 9 million AAPI eligible voters
    • 5.1 million AAPI voters did not go to the polls in 2014
    • There are 2.5 million AAPI legal residents.
    States With Highest AAPI Population of Eligible, Registered and Expected Voters
    Eligible Voters as of 2012 Registered Voters in 2012 Expected Voters in 2014
    CA - 3,297,000 1,790,000 1,499,000
    NY - 783,000 414,000 354,000
    TX - 542,000 305,000 220,000
    IL - 333,000 243,000 204,000
    FL - 308,000 194,000 179,000
    WA - 349,000 236,000 223,000
    A large percentage of AAPI voters also live in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia.
  2. The growing AAPI unionization rate means we can have a far greater impact on our nation and communities. While other groups have seen a decrease in union membership in recent years, AAPI union membership rose by 9.4% in 2013 and 10.4% in 2014. 68.7% of AAPI unionized workers are immigrants while the overall workforce is just 16% immigrant. A large percentage of AAPI women are employed in health care, while a large percentage of AAPI men work in restaurants. The public sector is also a major AAPI employer.
  3. There are many new, exciting ways to bring AAPI workers into the social justice movement:
    • As we saw in the recent Fight For $15 actions, many AAPI workers are passionate about taking a stand against income inequality.
    • Last year, AAPI members participated in the People's Climate March and other environmental actions because many AAPI countries are disproportionately affected by rising sea levels and deadly typhoons. We are deeply proud of our SEIU projects in the Philippines that have helped rebuild communities, and economic livelihoods after super storm Haiyan devastated the island.
    • Immigration reform and President Obama's Executive Actions are vital for keeping AAPI families together and bringing workers out of the shadows.
    • And the recent nationwide demonstrations against police brutality registered the urgency for our government to ensure safety, rights and respect for every community.
  4. Large Numbers of AAPI immigrants are eligible for DACA/DAPA. States with the greatest numbers are: California - 1,214,000; Texas -594,000; New York - 258,000; Illinois - 214,000; Florida - 181,000; New Jersey - 150,000; Georgia - 130,000; North Carolina - 122,000. SEIU AAPI leaders left our April 16 meeting hopeful and deeply inspired.
    • We hope to build activist AAPI caucuses in Locals and strengthen existing ones.
    • We recognized the urgent need to have more AAPI faces in leadership roles in our union.
    • We pledged to help each other achieve our goals through regional meetings, social media, networking and monthly calls.
    • We expressed our support for our SEIU Local 1107 in their struggle to preserve all their contract gains as they face major cutbacks.
    • We are proud of the budding partnership between iAMERICA, Nevada APALA chapter and Mi Familia Vota to organize our communities in Nevada in a civic engagement pilot program that will propel both communities in the forefront of general elections in 2016.
    • Finally, we hope to organize activities in May to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.

We look forward to building the leadership, expanding the member involvement of our AAPI Caucus, and to growing the movement for social and economic justice.

CEO Local 521
Secretary-Treasurer 1199SEIU UHE
Assistant to President Mary Kay Henry

The AAPI Web Page Edit Team:
Yin Kyi: HCILL Indiana
Roy Chavady: L73
David Ho: UHE
Jacquie Comendador: L 1000