SUMMING UP THE PAST AND LOOKING FORWARD
Over the past three decades, CSWA, with the support and participation of workers, has been able to achieve one victory after another. CSWA has grown out of struggle. The most worthwhile thing to celebrate is that workers, through CSWA, have been able to change working conditions. Compared to ten or thirty years ago, our working hours are shorter and the attitude of bosses towards workers has improved. Workers’ status in the community has also risen – from being victims to being agents of change. Moreover, during these thirty years, one group after another of worker-leaders have surged ahead.
These worker leaders were able to bring workers together, fighting for their own rights, to initiate the Justice Will Be Served! Campaign to fight against sweatshops. They organized workers, especially women to change the subcontracting system and to successfully hold manufacturers accountable. They also fought against racism and discrimination and were able to make the government hire Chinese workers at the federal court house and federal building construction site at Foley Square. Over a hundred workers have been able to join the construction union because of that effort. They organized injured workers of all trades, forced the state government to change their policy so injured workers receive timely medical treatment, and raised people’s understanding of the impact of long work hours and the importance of our health.
Workers have also led the other classes in the community to fight for justice and caused many changes in the community. For example, during the time of the 9.11 disaster, workers had mobilized the community to demonstrate several times in front of White House in Washington D. C. and New York and made the government pay attention to the harm caused by toxic air and to provide treatment and health insurance. On the relief effort, workers were able to change the government’s initial discriminatory policy to allow low-income people to get fair treatment.
Through the years, we fought against bad immigration laws and called for the repeal of the Employer Sanctions Provision – the modern slave law, changing the way people look at undocumented workers on a national scale; We also did a lot of work to fight against the city and developers who tried to gentrify the Chinese community, putting forward the idea that people are part of the environment, leading workers and small businesses to protect the community and fight against developers destroying the environment and displacing long-time residents.
Our 30 years of accomplishments are well known to everyone, but they never could have happened without your identification, participation and concern. The future of the United States economy looks bleak. We need to work harder, not only to continue the work we have not finished, but also to utilize our new center to learn and develop workers’ leadership, especially concerning health.
CSWA Board of Directors October 21, 2010
(From the 30th Anniversary of CSWA)