PHL labor groups air domestic grievances in US

PHL labor groups air domestic grievances in US

By Jomel R. Paguian

LEADERS of seven Philippine labor groups met with a United States (US) official at the White House on Tuesday to seek support in addressing critical issues within the Philippine labor sector.

Union leaders were seeking measures to halt red-tagging, abductions, and killings of worker activists, in line with the objectives of the US-Philippines labor working group bilateral agreement signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., and US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in May this year.

Labor leaders submitted their set of requests to the US government through US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a meeting organized by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Jose “Sonny” G. Matula, Federation of Free Workers (FFW) president, said in a Viber message that the meeting is likely to bear good results. “They (Mr. Sullivan) will be guided by Biden’s new memo empowering workers not only in the US but also abroad,” citing Mr. Biden’s statement last month stating that his administration will undertake comprehensive policies on global labor rights and standards.

The unions urged the dismantling of the Philippines’ National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and called for a thorough investigation into and prosecution of those responsible for trade union killings and red-tagging.

Additionally, they proposed elevating existing guidelines against red-tagging into an Executive Order and dropping unfounded charges against trade unionists.

Speaking at Monday’s fifth anniversary of the NTF-ELCAC, Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio lauded the work being done by the task force, saying in Filipino: “What we need to do is to continue what we have started in the NTF-ELCAC and strengthen them further.”

Meanwhile, unions also recommended the establishment of a presidential commission in Manila to ensure the full implementation of recommendations from the International Labor Organization. This commission, involving representatives from both labor and employers, aims to strengthen the enforcement of labor rights in the Philippines.

Unions that participated in the meeting in Washington, D.C. were FFW, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and BPO Industry Employee Network.

Leaders of the said organizations were set to receive on Wednesday the George Meany–Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award from AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.