Louie " Just-In Time Guerilla Warriors: Immigrant Workers' Center"
Most people would be shocked to learn the number of sweatshops that exist in America. In El Monte, California, 72 Thai sewing workers were imprisoned in a sweatshop. Government agents exposed the factory in 1995, only to "reimprison" these workers by the Department of Labor and the INS. Huddled, confused, and not able to understand English, they were told they that were a burden to the US government and were here illegally. Go back home! The essay tells the story of Rojana Cheunchujit, one of the El Monte workers, who went from a young Thai sweatshop worker to one of the most influential activists for the sweatshop worker's struggle and the Community Development Center. " Just-In Time Guerilla Warriors" analyzes the process, tactics, and transformation women make from sweatshop workers to sweatshop warriors, expressed through their integrating cultures, families, and communities. "Contrary to conventional wisdom that leans heavily on white/or male academics, (immigrant women workers) are the REAL EXPERTS about the inner workings of the global economy, labor markets, and immigrant communities-speaking to us from the bottom of the sweatshop industry pyramid." - L.F.
"'Each Day I GoHome with A New Wound in My Heart.' Korean Immigrant Women Workers."
This article uses facts, statistics, and detailed personal accounts from Korean women workers to demonstrate the situation for Korean workers in the United States and South Korean during the past 40 years. By presenting a historical account of South Korea's capitalist economy, Louie depicts the socioeconomic backdrop of Korean women's work and labor hardships. We see how the South Korean capitalist boom was financed largely by women's underpaid labor in industry and sex work, and women were exploited based upon historical cultural images of women's subservience and duty to the nation, which glorified sweatshop labor and sex work while portraying women's real occupations to be mothers and wives. The article then discusses the incredible effort undertaken by Korean women workers to unionize, fighting for better wages and working condition during the 1970s and 80s, thereby depicting these women as powerful agents of change rather than as victims. In relating these facts to a recent global picture of Korean women workes, Louie also describes the factors propelling Korean migration to the United States, and depicts the current state of exploited U.S. immigrant labor with a corresponding concentration on the feminization of Korean workers. The article is applicable to any discussion of feminist theory relating to economic and racist hierarchy, the politics of sexuality, and the effects of globalization upon women. -B.G.