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Press Release

NAKASEC Staff and Leadership Work Together Towards Immigrant Justice 

By March 1, 2023April 28th, 2023No Comments

For immediate release
March 1, 2023

NAKASEC Staff and Leadership Work Together Towards Immigrant Justice 

Chicago, IL – Today, NAKASEC staff, NAKASEC’s Co-Directors and Board of Directors are pleased to announce the formation of the NAKASEC Staff Union. The NAKASEC Staff Union has joined the membership of the Industrial Workers of the World, a member-led grassroots union established in 1905 in Chicago. Together, we are committed to fulfilling NAKASEC’s mission to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, racial and economic justice– within our organization and beyond.

As an immigrant-led organization, NAKASEC recognizes the importance of unions to the Asian American community. Despite being the fastest growing racial group and working population in the U.S., only 9.2% of AAPI workers in the United States are unionized– the lowest unionization rate among all major racial and ethnic groups.  

In the pursuit of social, racial, and economic justice for all, we must center the voices of the most marginalized workers. Not only do Asian Americans work across a variety of job sectors, but also Asian Americans possess a variety of immigration backgrounds, skills, education levels, and English language proficiency. 4 out of 5 Asian American low-wage workers are immigrants, and 66% of the Asian American population is foreign-born– more than four times the national average of 14%. Despite the model minority myth, there are significant numbers of low-wage Asian American workers, concentrated in the nail salon, restaurant, healthcare and homecare, repair shops and laundry industries, which are largely unorganized. These are the community members which NAKASEC’s work hopes to impact.  

All workers – regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, or citizenship status – have the right to unionize. Time and time again, history has shown that collective action remains a powerful tool to improve wages and working conditions for all. 

As a leader within the immigrant rights movement, we must continue to lead by example. The NAKASEC Staff Union and NAKASEC leadership look forward to joining the growing field of nonprofit workplaces with collective bargaining agreements. In the coming weeks, we are committed to begin negotiating our first contract that conscientiously reflects our shared vision of a just society.

Media contact: Rachel Koelzer,, (213) 703-0992


Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. The NAKASEC Network is HANA Center (Illinois), Hamkae Center (fka NAKASEC VA) (Virginia), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York & New Jersey) and Woori Juntos (Texas).