This report is the summation of the 2013 Yank Sing restaurant workers campaign, where nearly 100 Chinese immigrant workers in San Francisco, CA organized a campaign that led to transformations in their workplace and a $4 million backwage settlement. With the support of CPA, Asian Law Caucus and city and state labor agencies, these workers broke language, institutional and cultural barriers to reclaim basic rights and dignity on the job.
Many asked us, how did you do it? How did the workers overcome so much? Well, here is our attempt to answer that question and contribute our learnings and experiences to inspire and strengthen the movement for workers rights, social and racial justice, democracy, and the 99%.
Pam Tau Lee reflects:
“Many may wonder what is the significance of organizing workers from the community? Do these efforts have the "depth and scope" to make a difference in people's lives? The voices and actions of this group of 100 workers ultimately not only uplifted the lives of current and former Yang Sink workers, it benefitted all hourly workers in San Francisco and nationally. This report helped me understand what a 21st century grassroots vision for organizing looks like; what it took for workers to overcome their fears and step up to take leadership and responsibility for each other; what it takes to organize in immigrant communities; why deep and genuine solidarity is important. This report challenges us to examine current models of organization with regard to movement building in these turbulent times.I hope this can generate discussion among our members - workers, tenant, youth, CPA activists and supporters to better understand and apply the CPA approach toward making this a better world for all."
We hope our report will be used for learning, reflection, and inspiration to further our collective vision and strategies for change. We welcome your feedback and thoughts. Please contact us at 415-391-6986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The report is available in English and Chinese. Hard copies are available at request.