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Center for Labor Research and Education


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Katie Quan, Senior Labor Specialist

Katie Quan

About Katie Quan

Katie Quan has worked as a labor specialist at the Labor Center since 1998. She has served as the center’s Chair and Associate Chair, and currently is a Senior Labor Specialist. Her areas of specialization are labor strategies in the global economy, policies that promote the rights of immigrant workers, and equity issues for women workers. Formerly chair of the Labor Center, she now heads the Labor Center’s education and training activities. Prior to joining the Labor Center staff, Katie was an international vice-president of UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. She rose through the ranks, having been a rank and file seamstress, shop steward, union organizer, and manager of the union’s Pacific Northwest District Council. Katie chaired the founding convention of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and her organizing experiences have been documented by Ruth Milkman in Women in Unions (Cornell ILR Press, 1993), and by Xiaolan Bao in Holding Up More than Half the Sky (University of Illinois Press 2001). She continues her involvement with garment worker and women’s issues as a Board member of the Worker Rights Consortium, the Labor Project for Working Families, the International Labor Rights Fund, the Working America Education Fund, and the Working for Good Jobs in America Fund.

Publications available through subscription or book purchase

"One Step Forward: Collective Bargaining Experiments in Vietnam and China" in Anita Chan (ed.) Chinese Workers in Comparative Perspective. Cornell University: ILR Press, 2015.

Labor Insurgency in China: Strikes, Unions, and the Role of the Government. New Labor Forum. Vol. 22, Issue 3, Fall 2013, pp. 64-70.

Workers and Communities versus Walmart: A Comparison of Organized Resistance in the United Stated and China. In Anita Chan, ed., Walmart in China. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011, pp. 239-251. Chinese edition forthcoming.

The China Watch (book review of New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China, By Yan Hairong). New Labor Forum. Vol. 19, No. 3, Fall 2010, pp. 93-95.

Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown. Amerasia Journal. Vol. 35, No. 1, 2009.  Chinese version published on June 10, 2013, available at

Evolving Labor Relations in the Women's Apparel Industry. In Charles J. Whalen, ed., New Directions in the Study of Work and Employment. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. December 2008.

Women Crossing Borders to Organize. In Dorothy Sue Cobble, ed., The Sex of Class: Women and the Future of U.S. Labor Movements. Ithaca: Cornell ILR Press, 2007.

Global Strategies for Workers: How Class Analysis Clarifies Us and Them and What We Need to Do. In Michael Zweig, ed., What's Class Got To Do With It? Ithaca: Cornell ILR Press, 2004.

Race, Class and Gender in the U.S. Labor Movement. New Labor Forum. Vol. 8, Spring/Summer 2001.

Publications by Katie Quan