FILIPINO WORKERS NETWORK POSITION STATEMENTS
Presented and accepted at the First Filipino Workers Conference,
April 9, 2016, 25 Cecil St. Toronto Ontario, Canada
Thousands of Filipinos leave the Philippines daily to go to countries like Canada because of worsening the economic and political situation in the Philippines. Canada is now home to us and we share in Canada’s concern that we are losing good jobs, losing public utilities due to privatization and losing our rights and freedoms as a people. We are deeply concerned about poverty and injustices happening around us, about issues that affect the working families and the community. We fear for the uncertain future of our families, our children and our children’s children. As Filipino Workers Network, we join in making a better Canada, a Canada that cares about its people. A Canada that protects the rights of workers and upholds the rights and freedoms of its people. We demand Respect, Justice and Dignity.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS, LIVING WAGE AND GOOD JOBS
We are committed in the fight to improve workers’ rights. We strongly support the changes to Employment Laws that will stave off poverty, benefits workers and lay the foundation for the next generation of workers.
PRIVATIZATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
We join and support the campaign to keep our public utilities public. We affirm the commitment to defeat privatization of public assets in Toronto, including the Parking Authority and the Toronto Community Housing Authority, as well as Toronto Hydro. We support efforts at Toronto City Hall to strengthen defense of public assets, including educating union members and the public to prepare them for the propaganda campaign
Our misuse and abuse of our environment threatens the whole world. Sometimes our jobs are directly destroying our planet. As Filipino-Canadians we are committed to protecting our environment and ensure that workers are protected when their jobs are being eliminated or changed due to transitioning to green jobs. This includes voice in decision-making, retraining, income bridging and unemployment benefits, and community investment for good green jobs. We must focus on making a better Canada, a caring Canada that protects the environment.
We condemn racism. We remember the Filipino community’s struggle in 1993 when Filipino youth were banned from the Scarborough Town Centre because they are Filipinos. We remember the mauling and killing of Mao Jomar Lanot in Vancouver. We remember the hate graffiti and physical violence against 25 Filipino youth at Vancouver Technical Secondary School in 1999. We remember Jeffrey Reodica who was shot by the police in 2004. We remember the racial profiling of young Filipinos in Montreal. We are continually discriminated as a people, the butt of jokes and receiver of disdain looks. While we take care of the elderly and children; we work in farms to grow food; serve food and do cleaning jobs. We do not see our faces and hear our voices in the government or in important governing structures. We are the invisibles among the visible minorities.
We, strongly criticize the use of racism and xenophobia to the community and stir them away from the real issues in the community. We must focus on making a better Canada. A Canada that embraces diversity, respects human rights and fights for social justice. A Canada that cares about its people and the world.
TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS / MIGRANT WORKERS
We strongly support the demand to permanent resident status for all temporary workers currently working in Canada. We are committed to uphold respect and dignity and better living and working conditions for all migrant workers. This will provide them with some leverage to negotiate their wages and working conditions which in turn will ensure a healthier job market that will provide better wages and working conditions for all workers in Canada.
We strongly criticize Canada’s government for continuing to use the temporary foreign workers program to create second class workers. Migrant workers are placed in vulnerable position, open to further exploitation and abuse, and with little to no bargaining power. The effects to Canadian workers are also detrimental, as the reliance on cheap, flexible foreign labour pushes the overall average wages lower and fails to resolve Canada’s high unemployment and lack of skills training.
Filipino Workers Network supports campaigns on issues that will improve the standard and quality of living of workers.