Senior Fellow


Program Area

Unions & Worker Organizations

Area of Expertise

Global Labor Strategies
Immigrant Workers Rights
Race, Class and Gender

About Katie

Katie Quan is a senior fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Formerly chair and associate chair of the Labor Center, she retired in 2016, but continues to work at the center on special projects involving research on global labor strategies and executive education for union leaders.

In 2010 she co-founded the International Center for Joint Labor Research at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and was its co-director for four years. In 2014 she received a Fulbright grant to study the apparel supply chain in China at Peking University. Katie has recently consulted with the International Labour Organization on industrial relations reform in Vietnam.

Prior to joining the staff of the Labor Center in 1998, Katie Quan was a seamstress, organizer, and international vice-president with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and its successor, UNITE. In 1992 she chaired the founding convention of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. She has volunteered as a board director for many labor organizations, including the Worker Rights Consortium, the International Labor Rights Forum, Sweatshop Watch, and the Labor Project for Working Families. Her organizing experiences were 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).

    NBC News

    40 years later, labor leaders remember NYC Chinatown’s garment worker strike

    Forty years later, Katie Quan still vividly remembers the pivotal garment workers strike in New York City’s Chinatown. Quan, who was 29 at the time, was one of the key organizers of the strike, in which more than 20,000 workers — most of them Chinese-born women — marched to Columbus Park on June 24, 1982, refusing to work and demanding higher wages and benefits.