[PALEA] HISTORY (Countdown to September 30 Blog. Day 1, Week 1)
by Koi Hernandez
(In this1stblog post I’m going to lay out, how it all began.)
PALEA and their history.
On September 21, 1946 a group of about 50 ground technical/mechanics employees based in Nichols field, Pasay City, founded a Union popularly know as the PHILIPPINE AIRLINES EMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION (PALEA).
In 1952 the passage of R.A. 875 increased union membership to 1,500. By 1954, however, because of the suspension of the international flight operations, many union members were retrenched causing misery and economic hardship to their families.
The “CBA Golden” era started when the Company agreed to provide the so-called “PAL Employees’ retirement Plan of 1957” to its employees. Between 1956 and 1965 the Union was strong and stable and this was bolstered by demanding for a 40-hour work week and the filing of the rate of pay case.
Bro. Emilio F. Sano, the popular PALEA president, who was locked-out in 1965, was reinstated in 1971, and again won the PALEA Presidency. Upon his assumption, the union had neither cash on hand nor operating funds because of expenses made of expenses made on the on-and-off strikes during the previous administration i.e. between 1965 and 1971. Sano’s administration rebuilt the financial stability of the union which at present has a total asset of about PHP 6-million.
The advent of Martial Law in 1972 paralyzed the militancy of the workers on the right to strike. The strike fund which before a source of financial support to strikers, was reverted to education and research Fund for purposes of enlightening union members on their rights and obligations, prevailing labor relations system, and provisions of the collective bargaining agreement and grievance machinery system.
In 1974 the passage of P.D. 442 abolished the existence of supervisory Unions in the Philippines. It created two kinds of employees i.e. the rank-and-file and managerial employees. Thus, under the law the supervisory employees of PAL were forced to join PALEA.
Upon the death of Bro. Sano who succumbed to lingering illness at the hospital in December 1975, Bro. Mario S. Santos took over the PALEA presidency.
Under Santos administration, he introduced progressive reform such as PALEA’s affiliation with the KMP-TUCP and the ITF, among others. He also initiated the socio-economic project known as the PALEA Credit Cooperative Inc. (PALEACCI) financially assisted by the Asian-American Free Labor Institute (AAFLI) thru the KMP-TUCP. Provisions of the CBA were progressively attuned to the welfare of the union members.
Through patience and hardship in 1980, Santos administration won the rate of pay case for PALEA members who rendered service from 1953 to 1963. And further, fought for the reemployment of retrenched employees in 1982 which it won thru court order.
Beset with problems in 1984 over the PALEA presidency between Santos and Villaor, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court for decision. Meanwhile, Santos was appointed by then Minister of labor and Employment as labor Adviser for Pakistan and surrounding areas when he was assigned to Karachi as Catering representative. On the other hand, the company recognized Bro. Miguel Villaor as PALEA president until an order from the Supreme Court came out deciding in his favour as PALEA President.
The EDSA Revolution of 1986 which installed Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino as president of the Republic of the Philippines, reorganized and restructured the labor relations system geared towards workers’ interests.
In the 1987 PALEA general Election, Bro. George M. Pulido won the PALEA Presidency. He was also instrumental on the first strike conducted by PALEA after Martial law to press for the implementation of the new payscale for the employees of PAL.
In 1989 the passage of R.A. 6715 gave way to the constitutional rights of supervisory employees to form their own union. The Union, in effect, was affected because most of supervisory employees are members and officers of PALEA.
After five (5) years of foreign assignment, Santos came back, ran again and overwhelmingly won the PALEA presidency over the incumbent Bro. George Pulido in the February 1990 PALEA National Election.
Today, PALEA is the only industry in the Philippines that gives so much social services to its members and the society in general. Whatever the members pay to the union it doubly goes back to them in terms of social services and monetary or financial assistance. Its services are always over and above what members gives. It is even astonishing that we can say that PALEA union dues is among the lowest among labor unions existing today.
PALEA has every reason to be hopeful as it faces the future. It holds the confidence and loyalty of its general membership; domestic and international. It enjoys high prestige as one of the most stable, economically and politically of the always rising union in the Philippines.
With the aid of DIVINE PROVIDENCE the union marches onwards to its rendezvous of unionism with the inspired destiny. It takes strength from wisdom of the words of one of its former leaders. A.Q. Josue who states, “ONCE A PALEAN, ALWAYS A PALEAN”.(dlv-555)
(cited from their Facebook page)
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