Filipinas in the U.S. March on May Day for Protection and Dignity for Immigrants and Workers

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson,

On May 1, 2017, GABRIELA USA chapters in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New Jersey and New York City mobilized alongside thousands of immigrants and workers to demand safety, dignity and access to basic rights under an anti-immigrant and anti-worker Trump administration. In light of increasing criminalization of immigrants, through the implementation of Trump’s fascist policies of immigration bans and building border walls, GABRIELA USA insists on upholding humane legislation such as sanctuary laws for undocumented immigrants and protection for immigrants in detention and deportation proceedings. At the same time, the alliance of progressive Filipino women’s organizations also upholds the rights of workers in this country and globally–for a living wage, dignity and respect in the workplace, and access to decent jobs.

Filipinas, both immigrants and children of immigrants, marched side by side with other immigrant communities to underscore the significant contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy today and historically. With placards, banners, and speeches about modern day colonialism and imperialism, members connect the violence of U.S. war and occupation abroad to the trends of migration to the U.S. Trump is calling for a $58 billion increase for the Defense Department dedicating half to military spending, while cutting his federal budget on housing, education, healthcare, women’s reproductive health, and organizations that provide support for domestic violence survivors. Trump and his administration is exposes themselves in not prioritizing low-income women of color, immigrant women workers, trans and gender nonconforming people and our children who will bear the brunt of the harm of these policies.

Filipinos make up one of the largest Asian American immigrant communities in the U.S.–they also make up a formidable number of migrant workers employed in essential industries like healthcare, domestic work, construction, and education. Filipino women are also victims of human trafficking in these industries. GABRIELA women demand and say no to war because women are the victims of crimes promoted by the U.S. wars abroad and at home including murder, rape, harassment and other sexual abuses, and human trafficking. GABRIELA USA has been at the forefront of demanding justice for Filipino immigrants who have been exploited without recourse from the U.S. and Philippine governments.

Representing Filipinos who are working in low-wage industries and also professional sectors, GABRIELA USA members marched for dignified and respectable working conditions. Nationally, members are waging and supporting campaigns on livable wages, wage theft, and an end to human trafficking and forced migration. GABRIELA USA calls our community, families, and our allies to RISE, RESIST, and UNITE: RISE against fascism, RESIST militarization, and UNITE for self-determination and liberation for all oppressed peoples. With the demand to protect and preserve the dignity of immigrants and workers, mass organizations remain committed to organizing in our communities and among the ranks of working women in order to advance the struggles of workers and all the oppressed. On May Day and everyday, GABRIELA USA stands with immigrant communities and workers whose labor, skills, and contributions advance the U.S. economy, allowing society to run and function daily.



GABRIELA-USA Marches to Advance the Rights of Immigrant Workers on May Day


Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA-USA

May 1, 2011 — On International Worker’s Day, member organizations of GABRIELA-USA: Babae-San Francisco, Samahan ng Kababaihan San Francisco (SAMAKA), Pinay sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York and Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken (SiGAw) in Los Angeles stand together with the international community to defend the rights of workers, especially the majority of whom fall victim to exploitative situations and are deprived of their basic rights. This May 1st, we are mobilizing and participating in local May Day marches hosted in our respective cities, to celebrate and stand in solidarity with workers worldwide.

As the on-going economic crisis continues to devastate working families, especially immigrant communities and women, the fight to protect their rights is ever more crucial as scapegoating and deportations threaten our families and livelihood. As an example, domestic workers and caregivers have taken unprecedented steps to ensure equal protection and recognition for their work. In California, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is in progress of reaching the state senate for passage. This bill would grant fair wages and standards to protect them from exploitation, including their right to overtime pay and at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Last fall, this Bill of Rights was passed in New York and other states have yet to catch up in improving working conditions for domestic workers, many of whom are immigrant women. We must also continue the fight against wage theft in home care facilities and build on last year’s victory where Filipino caregivers in San Francisco, Victoria Aquino and Lourdes Torres won over $70,000 in unpaid wages and penalties after filing suit against their employer.

As immigrant workers are continually scapegoated during the economic crisis, we must expose the root causes of forced migration.  Due to unequal U.S. foreign policies and trade agreements along with the cooperation of puppet governments, the working poor in 3rd world countries are forced to leave and seek work elsewhere.  As an example, the systematization of the Labor Export Program (LEP) in the Philippines currently forces nearly 4,000 Filipinos to leave their country everyday, 70% of whom are women. However, even through a government-sponsored export program, protection of their rights as workers is not guaranteed. In fact, in July 2010, a group of workers from the Philippines arrived in the U.S., hoping to provide for their families back home. Treated as indentured servants, 11 of them escaped and sought out for help in Los Angeles. To this day, the Philippine government has given very limited support to this group of workers, now known as “Luha Ko”, pushing them to turn to local grassroots organizations in seeking justice.

GABRIELA-USA calls on all women and their families to continue the struggle against forced migration and for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.  We join the working men and women of the broad immigrant rights movement to demand from the Obama administration an end to the raids and deportation that are tearing our families apart! As vital contributors to the U.S. economy, immigrant workers, whether documented or undocumented, need protection, not criminalization!

Justice and Protection for all Workers!
Pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California!
Legalization for ALL immigrant workers!

Sunday, May 1st Marches in local GABRIELA-USA regions:

FiRE – New York
MARCH AND RALLY at UNION SQUARE! WEAR RED and meet at 12pm on the SE corner of Union Square (Across from ShoeMania).  Look for our GORGEOUS rainbow FiRE flag!

Pinay sa Seattle
Meet at Hidmo parking lot (20th and Jackson) at 12 noon. We’ll be wearing tubaos. We’re joining the annual May 1st march led by El Comite, and we’ll be marching with  local Bayan forces and in solidarity with our API Unified contingent.

Babae and SAMAKA of San Francisco
Meet at 24th Street and Mission at 12 noon. WEAR RED. Local Bayan and GABRIELA organizations are joining AROC (meeting near Bank of the West), and Progressive Workers Alliance (behind McDonalds).

SiGAw in Los Angeles
Meet at Broadway & Olympic at 10am. Marching in Downtown LA as a part of the Southern California Immigration Coalition.