WASHINGTON - The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance of the AFL-CIO announced the unexpected death of its national president, John Delloro, who died of a heart attack.
Delloro was elected APALA president in 2009 and was one of the youngest leaders ever elected to this position.
Delloro also served as executive director of the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute, where he was a member of the American Federation of Teachers.
"We are all saddened by the sudden passing of John Delloro, a brilliant young labor leader, who made incredible contributions to APALA and to the U.S. labor movement," said Luisa Blue, APALA first vice president.
Delloro was a student leader and activist at UCLA, where he received his BA in psychology in 1994, and his MA in Asian American Studies in 1996.
Soon after, Delloro was introduced to APALA as a participant in the APALA Organizing Institute, a program that has trained the next generation of Asian Pacific American union organizers and community activists.
Delloro's first position in the labor movement was organizing hotel workers in Las Vegas with the Culinary Workers Union 226. He went on to organize clerical workers with AFSCME, and health care workers with SEIU 399 in Los Angeles, Calif.
While at SEIU 399, he created a member organizing program that trained hundreds of rank-and-file members that actively participated in union-support and community organizing campaigns.
In 2003, he was promoted to the Southwest Area Manager of SEIU 1000, the largest state workers union in the country at the time, with close to 100,000 members.
Under Delloro's leadership at the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute, the program strengthened labor studies on all nine campuses, and has exposed thousands of community college students to unions. Since 2007, he also taught Asian American Studies at UCLA, and inspired and mentored hundreds of students.
Delloro broke ground when, as president, APALA and the AFL-CIO convened the first National Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights Hearing in Washington D.C. in November 2009. Following the hearing, Delloro was a principal author in "Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: a report from the first National Asian Pacific American Workers' Rights Hearing."
That same year, Delloro received the Unsung Hero Award from the Asian Pacific Americans for Progress.
As a nationally recognized union leader, labor educator, organizer, teacher and mentor, John Delloro touched the lives of many and will be remembered for his compassion, his generosity of spirit, and for his visionary leadership," said Kent Wong, APALA founding president.
People's World correspondent Rosalio Muñoz remembered Delloro at demonstrations, picketlines and Facebook. "I knew John, not well, but at events we got to chatting. John was modest, bright in spirit and intellect. I first met him when he helped lead, with then-Assembly member Judy Chu, a rally supporting the striking Southern California grocery workers in the heart of the Asian Pacific American community of the San Gabriel Valley. He was representative of the new generation of labor activists."
John Delloro is survived by his wife Dr. Susan Suh, a sociologist and community activist, and their two young children, Mina and Malcolm.
The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO was founded in 1992 as the first and only national organization for Asian Pacific American union members to advance worker, immigrant and civil rights.
Photo: "This photo is my fondest memory of John. Pushing his daughter's stroller during the three-day "Hollywood to The Docks" labor march in April 2008. He was so attentive and caring, and she so happy to be with her dad and the rest of us!" Rosalio Muñoz/PW