Labor unions and the Filipino-American community staged a picket at the Philippine consulate and ticketing office of Philippine Airlines (PAL) noon of October 27 in San Francisco, California in support of the Philippine Airline Employees’ Association (PALEA). A delegation met Philippine Deputy Consul General Alfonso Ver and submitted a letter of concern to regarding the plight of 2,400 PALEA members who were laid off.
Participants in the picket include leaders and members of the unions IAMAW, San Francisco Labor Council, UNITE-HERE Local 2, and NUHW and representatives from Filipino-American groups such as the Filipino Community Center, NAFCON, Alliance Philippines and Worldwide Filipino Alliance.
Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa, sent a message from the Philippines. He said that “We appreciate the solidarity of our brother and sister unionists in the US and of our kababayans in the Bay Area, especially the support of IAMAW which represents customer service agents of PAL at the San Francisco International Airport. PAL’s outsourcing plan is an example of the corporate greed that has earned the outrage of working people in the America and the world. Organized action by workers is the antidote to the organized greed of corporations.”
Later today (6:30 pm, October 27 in Los Angeles) another picket is to be held at the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles. The solidarity action in LA is led by Filipino-American groups Alliance Philippines, Ecumenical Fellowship for Justice and Peace and Bantay Pilipinas-LA. Tonight (9:00 am, October 28 in Chicago), a similar action at the Philippine consulate in Chicago will be held by UNITE-HERE and UE unions.
The protesters picketed the Philippine consulate and PAL office for an hour and distributed flyers to passersby. Among the points raised by the delegation to Consul General Ver is that in allowing the controversial outsourcing scheme, the Philippine government is possibly in violation of internationally recognized conventions protecting workers’ freedom of association, right to collective bargaining and right to peaceful concerted actions including strikes. They also expressed concern that airline service is deteriorating and passenger safety is put at risk by the untrained and overworked replacement workers who are now operating PAL flights, including the transpacific route which conveys many US nationals.
The solidarity actions in SF and LA coincided with the 30th day of the mass termination of PAL employees, a PALEA motorcade protest around the Manila International Airport and a call by the Migrant Forum in Asia group for OFW’s to boycott PAL until it heeds the demand of PALEA for workers to return to their regular jobs.
October 28, 2011
Contact Alnem Pretencio (PALEA VP) @ 09209543634
Bong Palad (PALEA Secretary) @ 09165740596