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Marker at Chicago Haymarket Square honors Kilusang Mayo Uno

A plaque honoring Philippines’s Kilusang Mayo Uno  (KMU) was installed at the Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, USA last May 1  at the monument honoring workers whose deaths led to several labor reforms, including the implementation of an eight-hour work day.
The installation of the plaque was organized by the Illinois Labor History Society.
Raymond Palatino Bagong Alyansang Makabayan represented KMU during the activity. Below is the text of Mong’s speech:
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Salute to the working class of the United States! Salute to all working peoples of the world! Mabuhay!
It is an honor to represent the Kilusang Mayo Uno or May First Movement of the Philippines.
Today, we honor the Haymarket workers whose martyrdom did not only pave the way for labor reforms, but more importantly, it empowered and inspired the growth of the labor movement all over the world.
So powerful was the legacy of May One that it eventually became the International Workers Day.
The Philippine labor movement acknowledged the heroism of the Haymarket martyrs when its largest and most militant labor federation chose the name Kilusang Mayo Uno or May First Movement to unite all workers in the Philippines and lead the struggle of the working class.
KMU was established to strengthen the ranks of Filipino workers at a time when the country was under a dictatorship. KMU led the workers in resisting tyranny and linked arms with the farmers, the urban poor, and other freedom-loving Filipinos in ousting a dictator from power.
Since then, the KMU has been at the forefront of the labor movement, and it has consistently and bravely asserted, without compromise, the just demands of workers for higher wages, decent work, safe workplaces; and it has been a strong voice in pushing for democratic rights, an end to feudal oppression in the rural regions of the Philippines, the resistance against foreign control of the local economy, and the realization of the people’s national democratic aspirations.
For almost four decades now, the KMU has been an influential force in the people’s struggle for real democracy and lasting peace in the Philippines.
And so it is fitting that, as we place a KMU marker here in Chicago, we dedicate this in honor of all who devoted the best years of their lives, many of them even sacrificed their lives, in pursuing the revolutionary struggle for national democracy.
This plaque is also for the Filipino migrant farmers who arrived here in the US in the early 20th century. Some of them would become pioneers in union organizing. Their work is remembered today as we continue to fight for immigrant rights and the improvement of conditions of all migrant workers in the US.
This is for the assembly workers in the Philippines’ export processing zones who are toiling in sweatshop conditions, the plantation workers of Mindanao who are herded in militarized camps, the service sector employees denied of benefits, the migrant workers who are forced to be separated from their families because of poverty, underdevelopment, and unjust immigration policies. This is for all the working classes who do not surrender and who continue to march forward to fight for change.
This is for the labor organizers in the Philippines who are fighting a rising dictatorship amid nonstop attacks by state forces. Some of them are in prison yet the only crime they committed was to promote the welfare of workers.
In response, we proudly assert that union organizing is not a crime. Empowering the grassroots is not a crime. Standing up for migrant rights is not a crime.
The real criminal act is the exploitation of the working class, the greedy appropriation of profits and surplus value while workers are subjected to slave-like relations, and the collusion of big capitalists and corrupt politicians in violating labor rights.

KMU stands in solidarity with the American working class in challenging the neoliberal economic policies that drive down wages, destroy unions, and harm the health and well-being of workers.

Raymond Palatino (front row, 5th from right) with members of the Illinois Labor History Society. (Photo by Ciriaco Santiago III, used with permission)

KMU joins all workers in the world in smashing this inhumane system that perpetuates oppression and inequality.
The capitalists have money, the police, the courts, and dirty politicians; but the workers are stronger because we have unity and solidarity and the peoples of the world are one with us in building a better future, a beautiful tomorrow where there is real peace, justice, democracy, and respect for human dignity.
Long live the working class! Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa!

Labor feds unite, vow to hold biggest rally in decades

Labor federations vowed to hold their biggest Labor Day protest on Tuesday after agreeing to jointly march against President Duterte’s failed promise to end contractualization.

In a press conference in Manila Friday, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said as many as 60,000 workers in Metro Manila and 150,000 all over the country will march as one on May 1.

“The growing frustration, disappointment and dissatisfaction of workers over President Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to fulfil a promise have only bonded workers,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

Long rivals, the federations have formed an alliance after Duterte turned on his promise to end labor only contracting and issue an executive order ending the practice.

KMU and Nagkaisa said their joint May 1 protests are an “historic first.”

“This year’s commemoration of Labor Day will be different. It will be a national day of solidarity and action of leaders, members, allies and supporters of Nagkaisa and KMU and all citizens who have been frustrated over the injustices committed against workers and the Filipino people and government’s continued inaction and negligence,” Nagkaisa and KMU said in a joint statement.

“For two years, we participated in labor summits called for by ( the Department of Labor and Employment), dialogued with the President three times, drafted an Executive Order (EO) on contractualization, negotiated with him through five drafts—all to no avail,” KMU and Nagkaisa said.

The groups said they also intended to engage Congress on the issue but were stopped when informed by Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chairperson Senator Joel Villanueva that Congress will act based on Malacañang’s ”signal”.

“Now that a directive by way of an EO that would declare direct hiring as the norm has been shelved, the Senate might just follow this lead,” the federations said.

“We are utterly frustrated. Despite our desire to continue sitting at the negotiating table and follow reason, the President has decided on retaining business-as-usual, by siding with local and foreign investors who have no respect for security of tenure,” the groups added.

“(Duterte) has agreed to the false ‘win-win solution’ of (the Department of Trade and Industry) that encourages manpower agency regularization and not direct hiring with the principal employers,” Nagkaisa and KMU said.

In an April 19 press briefing, DOLE secretary Silvestre Bello III said the President will no longer sign an EO but will instead certify as urgent a pending bill in Congress ending contractualization.

KMU earlier said legislators would only ensure such laws would be watered-down and mangled.

Nagkaisa and KMU said protesters will start marching from various points as early as six o’clock in the morning and will converge at Morayta Street at about 10 am before proceeding to Mendiola Tuesday. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Not surprised,’ KMU says of Duterte’s turnaround on endo promise

Militant labor denounced Rodrigo Duterte’s decision not to issue an order ending contractualization of workers, saying the President’s move is a complete turnaround from his repeated promise to end the practice.

Following labor secretary Silvestre Bello III’s announcement Thursday that Duterte decided to leave it to Congress to decide on labor-only contracting, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson Elmer Labog said the government is bent on maintaining the status quo in the labor sector.

“Duterte wants contractual labor to remain the norm while regular employment is just the exemption,” Labog told Kodao.

“He sweet-talked us for such a long time, but it all comes to nothing,” Labog added.

In a statement, Kilusang Mayo Uno said it was Duterte himself in a dialogue last May 1, 2017 who asked the labor sector to draft an EO that he would immediately sign.

“However, like his other promises and pretensions, Duterte refused to deliver. This further proves that his tough-talk against contractualization was a mere publicity stunt to woo workers’ votes like all other traditional politicians,” KMU said.

In his press briefing, Bello said three drafts of the executive order were submitted to the Office of the President through the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Bello said Malacañan however ultimately decided to instead certify as priority a Senate bill on the security of tenure of workers.

Earlier, the Palace announced that Duterte will finally issue an order to end contractualization, or non-regularization of workers. It later said Malacañan decided to postpone Duterte’s signing of the order last April 15.

No order was signed and issued last Sunday, however.

In justifying Duterte’s decision, Bello said the Senate bill is a reinforcement of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department Order 174 meant to address the issue of unlawful contractualization anyway.

Bello said the DOLE order and the Senate bill may end contractualization “if there is an effective and honest-to-goodness implementation.”

Labog, however, said militant labor has no illusions about the prospective anti-contractualization law.

Wala na iyan. Lututuin lang iyan sa Kongreso,” Labog said. (That’s nothing. It will just be mangled in Congress.)

Labog warned that more workers would be disappointed and angry at Duterte.

“It will not only be KMU who gets angry with Duterte, but all the other workers who are victims of contractualization,” Labog said.

Labog added KMU’s International Labor Day activities will start at nine o’clock in the morning at Liwasang Bonifacio.

“Our main sectoral call is, of course, for the junking of contractualization,” Labog said.

KMU said Duterte’s mockery of Filipino workers and of our legitimate demands will never be forgiven.

“On May 1, International Labor Day, hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers across the country will show their outrage over Duterte’s rejection of our demands for regular and decent jobs in a nationwide workers’ and people’s protest,” KMU’s statement said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Compressed Work Week Bill: Pasado o Palyado?

Kasalukuyang dinidinig pa rin sa Senado ang bill hinggil sa “compressed work week”, isang iskema ng pleksibleng paggawa.

Anila, pabor daw ito sa mga manggagawa dahil mas magiging produktibo kung mas mahaba ang oras ng paggawa kada araw. Dapat ba silang sumang-ayon dito? Ano ba ang epekto nito sa kanilang sahod at kalusugan?

Isa ito sa mga isyu ng manggagawa sa papalapit na Mayo Uno.

Panoorin ang bidyo ng MayDay Multimedia:

 

Duterte an ‘arrogant fake’–CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called President Rodrigo Duterte an “arrogant fake” for cussing the drivers and small operators who recently held a two-day nationwide transport strike against the government’s planned phase out of the iconic jeepney.

Nagpupuputok ang butse mo sa ibinubugang usok ng mga jeep, pero tameme ka naman sa napakakapal na usok ng mga coal-fired power plant na lumalason sa kapaligiran sa buong bansa,” the CPP said in a statement. [You are angry at the smoke belched by the jeepney but you are silent about the thick smoke from coal-fired power plants that poison the entire country’s environment.]

“The truth is, you just want drivers and small operators to die in hardship and poverty in order to serve your true masters,” the group added.

In his speech at the Federalism Summit in Naga City Tuesday, Duterte unleashed another cuss-filled tirade against the protesters,

Mahirap kayo? P*******a, magtiis kayo sa hirap at gutom. Wala akong pakialam!” Duterte told the protesters. [You say you are poor? You sons of bitches, put up with hardship and hunger. I don’t have a care!]

The CPP said Duterte again showed his true color.

[G]alit sa mga gutom at mahirap, laluna ang mga marunong manindigan at lumaban para sa kanilang interes,” the CPP said. [He is against the hungry and the poor, especially those who know how to stand up and struggle for their interests.]

In his speech, Duterte also branded transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, human rights group Karapatan and Kilusang Mayo Uno as CPP fronts.

Dictator’s mindset

Other groups also condemned Duterte’s statements against the protesters.

“We say to Mr. Duterte: please stick to the issue! His self-indulged blabbing over the national television, refuses to address the real threat to the livelihood of the country’s jeepney drivers being posed by the Jeepney Phaseout Scheme,” KMU said.

KMU said Duterte refuses to listen to the jeepney drivers and operators’ legitimate demand and logical reasoning to junk the jeepney phaseout scheme.

“Duterte is proving he himself is a front of the oligarchs, such as the Ayalas, Pangilinan, and Cojuangco, who will be raking super profits from this scheme. The same oligarchs whom he handed control over MRT/LRT, express ways, telecommunication, power, and water,” KMU said.

“Duterte has the mindset of a dictator! When the poor exercise their right to speak up against threats to their livelihood, he brands their actions as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘rebellion’,” the group added.

Anakbayan Metro Manila burns an image of Duterte following the President’s cuss-filled tirade against striking jeepney drivers. (Photo by Kathy Yamzon)

Meanwhile, youth group Anakbayan-Metro Manila slipped through heavily-guarded Mendiola Street to hold a lightning rally at Malacañan Palace Thursday and condemn “Duterte’s inhumane and anti-poor statement” on the recently concluded transport strike.

The group burned Duterte’s image depicting him as “anti-poor, anti-people, and subservient to foreign masters” at the Palace’s Gate 7.

Anakbayan said it also holds Duterte accountable for the extrajudicial killings as well as the violent demolition and harassment of residents in Floodway, Pasig. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ruta ni Ka Roda

On the eighth death anniversary of Medardo Roda of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON), we are re-posting this Kodao-produced video documentary of the legendary transport leader.

Ruta ni Ka Roda (Roda’s Route) is a 14-minute documentary about the life of Filipino transport leader Medardo Roda, popularly known as Ka Roda.

He was the longtime chair of the transport group Piston. He gave face to transport workers and fought alongside them for the longest time.

(Kodao Productions/2006 * Script/Direction/Editing: Risa Jopson * Cinematography: Ariel Saturay/Ron Papag/Risa Jopson/Asia Visions * Artistic Directors: Nes Jacinto+/Raymund Villanueva)

Workers call for immediate end to contractualization on Bonifacio Day

Thousands of militant laborers commemorate Andres Bonifacio’s 153rd birth anniversary with a rally to demand from the Rodrigo Duterte government the immediate end to contractualization.

The workers reminded Duterte of his campaign promise to end the practice.

Five months into the Duterte presidency, contractual workers have yet to be regularized through executive action.

They also condemned the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani who they said, unlike Bonifacio, was not a real hero. Read more

No change under Duterte–workers

MILITANT workers celebrated “true Filipino heroes who follow in the footsteps of Andres Bonifacio” with a protest rally on the occasion of the national hero’s 153rd birth anniversary yesterday.

Thousands of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) unionists and their supporters marched from Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City to Mendiola Bridge in Manila to demand that President Rodrigo Duterte implement changes he promised workers during the election period earlier this year. Read more

Workers successfully hold rally at US Consulate on Labor Day

Thousands of workers and their supporters overpowered phalanxes of Philippine National Police personnel to reach Roxas Boulevard in front of the United States Consulate on May 1.

Wanting to close their Labor Day activities by holding a rally in front of the consulate to denounce increased US military presence in the Philippines, the protesters used their superior number in overpowering hastily organized police lines.

Kilusang Mayo Uno, organizer of the biggest Labor Day event in the capital, said that neo-liberal policies dictated by the US on the Benigno Aquino government is to be blamed for the low wages and labor-only contracting policies they suffer.