Garment Union Okays Funds for Chinese Contracts

Ron Chew October 15, 1976 0

The United Garment Workers Union last month approved over 200 dollars for translation of its new three-year contract into Chinese and the printing of 300 copies for distribution to its Chinese workers.

The Executive Board of the United Garment Workers Union, Local 17, at a September 29 meeting, voted unanimously to approve the request of two Chinese Media Committee members for $212.50, $100 for translation and $112.50 for xeroxing. October 4, the union membership voted to accept the Executive Board’s recommendation.

Bertha McVay, the union’s business agent, said about six or seven Chinese garment workers have already approached the union about getting a copy of the translated contract. McVay said she told them it would be several weeks before the contracts would be ready for distribution.

McVay said the contract would be made available to the garment workers in the various shops as they paid their dues.

The United Garment Workers Union represents approximately 800 Seattle workers, a sizeable number of whom are Chinese non-English speaking women.

The Chinese Media Committee, in a June 23 letter to the garment union, requested a copy of the newly approved contract so the organization could translate it and distribute it to the Chinese workers.

Margaret Rogers, union president, told the Examiner in August that the Chinese copies of the contract would only be distributed to those who came to the union requesting one. The Media Committee felt that this approach would not reach all the Chinese garment workers because many would be reluctant to come to the union. The Media Committee wanted to distribute the Chinese contract themselves to all the Chinese.

At the same time, Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a community organization of Chinese, has set a conference for garment workers on November 14, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Chinese Information Center, 410-7th Ave. S. The conference, organizers say, will attempt to encourage Chinese workers to begin speaking out on various complaints they have about working condition.

An Asian attorney will be present to inform the Chinese women of their legal rights. Several garment workers will be featured as speakers and there will be a slide show about garment shops.

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