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IFPTE Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Joseph Pham
IFPTE Local 2001

Joseph Pham, a Boeing engineer who works on the 737 systems installation, is Seattle regional director of the ‘Math Is Cool’ competition.

Pham, a Renton Council Rep for SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001, is the son of immigrant parents.

At the math events, hundreds of students compete for ribbons and trophies. Pham oversees the logistics, including a small army of volunteers.

Pham remembers what it was like when he was competing. To prepare for the events, he spent hours practicing drills and taking sample tests.

He started in fifth grade and continued through his senior year of high school. Math was the “one good skill I had,” he said.

He volunteered for many years before becoming regional director. "We're trying to help promote to students how it can be fun since math is so important in college," he said.


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: