In San Francisco: Occupy Airport: The Struggle for Job Security at Philippine Airlines, in SF
For more than six months, the union Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) has maintained protest camps outside two international airports. Hear from Gerry Rivera, long-time labor activist and PALEA president, and support the 2,600 illegally fired workers fighting to stop the company’s unprecedented attack on labor.
Forum sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO), Air Transport Employees Local Lodge 1781 IAMAW, Global Exchange, and International Labor Rights Forum
ALSO: Please join Brother Gerry Rivera and the S.F. labor movement at two important picket lines in the Bay Area on May 9:
* 9 a.m -10 a.m. Air Transport Employees Local Lodge 1781, IAMAW, picket of United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek at the Marriot Hotel on Old Bayshore Rd. in Burlingame;
* 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., UNITE-HERE Local 2 picket of Hotel Frank, 386 Geary St. (@Mason), one block from Union Square in SF.
OUTSOURCED BUT NOT OUTFOUGHT: STRUGGLE FOR JOB SECURITY AT PHILIPPINE AIRLINES!
Philippines Airlines: An Aerial Attack on Freedom At Work
Ten days after the start of Occupy Wall Street, members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association, or PALEA, carried out their own “occupation.” PALEA staged a sit-down strike at the Manila International Airport against the Philippines’ own symbol of corporate greed – the
implementation of outsourcing scheme at the country’s flag-carrier, the Philippine Airlines (PAL).
PAL is the oldest commercial air carrier in Asia. Out of its hubs, the airline serves the Philippines and twenty-four destinations including Los Angeles, Honolulu, Las Vegas, and ,San Francisco. Until recently, PAL and its union workforce, represented by the PALEA, maintained a
collaborative relationship. In fact, after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, PALEA workers agreed to suspend their contract and accept across the board wage freezes for more than a decade to help the company.
But after posting record sales of $75.2 million in 2011, PAL unexpectedly decided to implement an illegal “fire and rehire” outsourcing scheme to cut compensation and rehire workers at significantly reduced rates. With the unprecedented blessing of the Philippine Department of Labor and the President of the Philippines, PAL fired some 2,600 workers and outsourced their jobs to subcontractors in violation of the existing union contract.
Stunned by the collusion between powerful government and corporate elites, which set the precedent that Philippine companies can violate both collective bargaining agreements and Philippine law regulating the use of labor contracting, the union filed suit in court, where the
case remains unresolved. The International Labour Organization has raised questions about the legality of the government’s efforts to support PAL.
For more than six months now, over one thousand workers continue to maintain its “occupation” outside two of the biggest international airports in the Philippines to protest PAL’s outsourcing scheme and the company’s unprecedented attack on freedom of association.
Gerry Rivera, the current president of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association, has worked at Philippine Airlines for 28 years. He is also an active leader of Kilusang 99%, a recently formed network of workers, farmers, women, indigenous and youth organizations dedicated to promoting economic and policy reforms in the Philippines for the 99%. He holds the position of vice president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the largest labor center in the country and he currently serves as the vice chair of the Ground Staff Committee of the Civil Aviation Section of the International Transport Workers Federation. Gerry is politically active as vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa, the Philippines Labor Party.