TA: Ekhlas Fajardo
February 8, 2016
Vulnerable to Victorious
From the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to the Bread and Roses Strike, the 20th century was a time where workers actively participated in direct action to protest for better laboring conditions. Despite the possible endangerment to their health, women were still obligated to win part of the bread for their families. More recently, the intersectional struggle of gender and race has clashed with the interests of labor unions, in that Chinese women have struggled with laboring conditions in New York. In “Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown,” author Katie Quan describes her firsthand account of her participation in bettering the labor movement for Chinese union female workers. Although the strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, or the ILGWU, successfully helped Chinese women gain better working conditions, the injustice still exists offshores, which calls for international union organization. The case of ILGWU was just, yet the potential to extrapolate it internationally by using such similar strategies can eliminate the injustice imposed by ruthless corporations.
During this period, the economics of business were changing; neoliberalism became the norm, where private corporations were able to avoid regulation policies by contracting workers offshores as they pleased (Gagnon Lecture 10). Hence, immigrant workers were easily disposable and exploited. Behind the closed doors of these monopolizing industrial corporations, many minorities, significantly women, struggled the most, as they were still committed to their below minimum wage jobs. As low-income immigrants who were blocked by a language b...
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...lization of the corporations should bring about the globalization of unions. Collaborating as an interracial “giddy multitude” (Takaki 58) would establish concrete solidarity against monopolizing companies as well as draw international sympathy. Challenging the system through direction action is necessary for taking one step forward toward justice. From the inspirations of 1982, the most vulnerable would become the most victorious.
Quan, Karen. "Excerpt, "Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown""
Dimensions of Culture 2: Justice. By Jeff Gagnon, Mark Hendrickson, and Michael Parrish. San Diego: U Readers, 2016. 99-112. Rpt. of "Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown"" Amerasia Journal 35.1 (2009): 77-91.
Takaki, Ronald T. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little,
Brown, 1993. Print.
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