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IFPTE Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Kimsuor Say
IFPTE Local 2001

Born in the height of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, the place I originally called home was a war torn country and my family survived by fleeing the village to seek refuge at refugee camps set up along the Thai border. In 1982 we all got a second chance and migrated to the United States in Wichita, KS where we all later became US Citizens. Farmers by trade, the family's goal from here on was to take advantage of the new found freedom and strive to be successful and prosperous.

Graduated from Wichita State University in 2000 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I started my career at a local engineering firm for 10 years and became a consultant engineer with Boeing being my largest client prior to arriving at Spirit in 2005. As a research engineer at Spirit, I felt blessed to work different assignments in different categories and use the fundamentals of engineering to solve unique, one-of-a-kind technical challenges. In my earlier years I was part of a team with an emergent task that could hold up Production if it didn't get resolved quickly. The task was estimated to take 4 weeks and I discovered a solution that completed the tasks in 3 days. During the initial stages of the 787 Program I was part of a team to define the Condition of Assembly of each unit prior to delivery. The team worked nearly around the clock to make sure we did not miss a delivery date to Boeing. Life has not been without it's challenges, but from where I have been, it certainly can't get any worse. My mentality is to take on challenges head-on and be agile and succeed.


May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Join us in paying tribute to generations of Asians and Pacific Americans in American history, with special emphasis on contributions to the labor movement. Emerging from a history of legalized exclusion -- from barriers to enter the U.S. to restrictions from participating in acts like owning land -- Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have been instrumental in building the labor movement and in shaping American history. Over the coming month, we will highlight labor heroes like Philip Vera Cruz, a Filipino labor organizer instrumental in the formation of the United Farm Workers Union, and Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, who co-founded the Alaska Cannery Worker's Association. We will also introduce individual members from within the IFPTE family.

We encourage you to join your local chapter of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance! Founded in 1992, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, is the first and only national organization of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers, most of who are union members, and allies advancing worker, immigrant and civil rights. Since its founding, APALA has played a unique role in addressing the workplace issues of the 660,000 AAPI union members and in serving as the bridge between the broader labor movement and the AAPI community. Backed with strong support of the AFL-CIO, APALA has more than 20 chapters and pre-chapters and a national office in Washington, D.C. APALA is dedicated to promoting political education and voter registration programs among AAPIs, and to the training, empowerment, and leadership of AAPIs within the labor movement and APA community. Furthermore, APALA works to defend and advocate for the civil and human rights of AAPIs, immigrants and all people of color, and continues to develop ties within international labor organizations, especially in the Asia-Pacific Rim.

For more information, visit the APALA website: