GABRIELA USA Demands Worker Rights and Protests Marcos Jr. Sell Out of Filipino Workers

For Immediate Release

May 1, 2023

Reference: Pyxie Castillo, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

This International Workers Day members of GABRIELA USA mobilize nationwide to lift up demands of Filipino workers and to protest the visit of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the United States. Marcos Jr. plans to meet with President Biden, Cabinet officials, legislators, and business leaders to negotiate trade and military agreements which ultimately will enable the Marcos family dynasty and their cronies to amass greater amounts of wealth, at the expense of the Filipino masses. 

In the Philippines and around the world, Filipino women continue to suffer from the ever-worsening economic crisis against the working class and the macho-fascist U.S.-Marcos Jr. regime. Even in the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, big healthcare, technology, and retail companies make record-breaking profits while the majority of people struggle to maintain their livelihood, sustain their families, and simply survive. 

The Marcos regime continues to drive down wages in the country and ignores the widespread demand for P750 ($13.52) wage increase. The current minimum wage does not even meet half of the daily living wage for the majority of the country. Marcos Jr. protects businesses by allowing them to deny workers benefits and job security through labor flexibilization or contractualization, where companies can hire workers as “contractuals” rather than regular workers. Additionally Filipino women workers and their families often cannot access basic goods and services, due to skyrocketing prices under the highest inflation rate in 10 years, as well as below poverty level wages. 

In the United States Filipino women workers also face hardships under the worsening economic crisis. In healthcare, an industry where the majority of Filipino women are concentrated, workers face rampant wage stagnation and wage theft. Management of hospitals put patients at risk and overwork healthcare workers and professionals, through understaffing and forcing staff to work under unsafe patient to provider ratios. Similar to workers in the Philippines, labor flexibilization is used by employers in the U.S., such as hospitals, to cut costs and make higher profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety. Hospitals will frequently hire traveling nurses or will hire low wage healthcare workers under contracts through third party agencies, in order to avoid giving regular jobs and benefits to these employees. 

The crisis of imperialism is in decay and is desperately trying to consolidate its power in the most violent of ways, especially through wars of aggression, insidious counterinsurgency operations on our peoples’ movement, and the gross neoliberal policies that make it easier to exploit and profit off of workers’ labor. 

In the Philippines workers’ unions face constant violent attacks. Just one week ago an union organizer and labor paralegal officer with BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN), Alex Dolorosa, was murdered. “Instead of stopping the human rights attacks on labor unions and addressing the demands of workers for wage increases on International Workers Day, Marcos Jr. prioritized using the peoples’ money to fly to the United States to push free trade agreements that won’t benefit working people,” stated GABRIELA USA Chairperson, Pyxie Castillo.

Marcos Jr. plans to discuss the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a U.S.-led new trade framework, while in the U.S. The IPEF will strengthen U.S.-control over economies in the Asia-Pacific region and will prioritize profit making by multinational corporations over the interests of the majority of working peoples.

The Marcos regime of U.S-backed comprador big bourgeoisie and big landlords are undeniably waging an all-out war on the people, which leave the people no other choice but to organize and militantly wage an all-out resistance. We are reminded by Lorena Barros, revolutionary martyr and founder of MAKIBAKA, that the women’s liberation movement in the Philippines is squarely in the context of the liberation of our entire country, for we know that it is necessary to liberate the masses of which we are part. So long as the semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of the Philippines persists, no sector of society will be free of exploitation. This is precisely why we as GABRIELA USA take seriously our tasks in uniting with the working class and their genuine, militant trade unions of Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) to further advance the national democratic struggle.

We, as GABRIELA USA, are committed to advancing the workers’ struggle against exploitation, the victory of the national democratic movement in the Philippines, and the liberation of all workers of the world. 

Workers of the world unite! Long live international solidarity!
Sahod Itaas! Presyo Ibaba! (Raise wages! Lower prices!)
Trabaho sa Pinas, hindi sa labas! LEP ibasura! (Jobs in the Philippines, not abroad! Junk the LEP!)
Kalusugan, kabuhayan, at karapatan, ipaglaban! (FIght for health, livelihood, and rights!)
Krisis wakasan! (End the crisis!)
Defend Gabriela! Defend Filipino Women!

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