YKASEC and AALDEF announced the launch of a ground-breaking new study aimed at collecting information about low-wage Korean workers in New York City—the first such study of its kind.
There are over 200,000 Korean Americans working in the New York City area, many of them working poor such as waiters, hairdressers, nail salon workers, and grocery cashiers. Many workers in the Korean community are often subjected to serious, unlawful labor violations—they are not properly paid minimum wage or overtime and are forced to work in hazardous conditions, for overly long hours, and without proper safety equipment. These problems are compounded by the fact that there is little specific information about this community. While there has been very little research about the Korean community, there has been no such research at all about Korean low-wage workers and the extent and nature of their problems.
In recognition of this, YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project have launched a comprehensive new study of low-wage Korean workers. The study will be based on anonymous, confidential survey forms containing questions relating to wages, hours, overtime pay, working conditions and work safety, as well as workers knowledge of the services available to them, such as unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and disability benefits. The aim of the study is to create a detailed profile about Korean low-wage workers and their employment. Results of the study will be announced in the spring of 2005.
YKASEC Executive Director Yu Soung Mun said, YKASEC is very excited about this new study of Korean workers. Hopefully, this will shed more light on this underserved community and highlight the problems it faces. AALDEF Korean Workers Project Director Steven Choi said, I believe this new study will fill a critical need. By gaining information on these workers, we can tailor our services to their needs and provide better protections to the rights of Korean workers.