New York-Last Sunday, on International Workers Day, Filipino domestic workers, youth and allies joined thousands of workers in Union Square and marched to Foley Square to demand full legalization for all immigrants and an end to deportations and detentions.
The rally comes at a time when politicians have started building their campaign funds for the 2012 elections, while an end to the economic crisis is nowhere in sight.
Over 80 domestic workers, youth and allies seized the opportunity to march militantlyÂ and demand full rights and protections for immigrant workers.
Demands included money for jobs and education, and an end to the squandering of workersâ€™ taxes for U.S. wars abroad.
The contingent marched under the flags of DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association and Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan.â€¨â€¨Cita Brodsky, Chair of DAMAYAN, addressed the crowd from the stage at Union Square. â€œWe are the backbone of the US economy,â€ exclaimed Brodsky. Â â€œWomenâ€™s work in the home allows our capitalist employers to go out to work.
For one job I worked 7 days a week for $300 a month. No one deserves to be treated like a slave!â€â€¨â€¨The lively contingent included domestic workers who had won wage theft cases against their employers, trafficked workers, young restaurant workers, students and youth organizers.
Several DAMAYAN and Ugnayan members formed a street theater piece at the head of the contingent, depicting Uncle Sam dancing and jeering while pulling workers and youth on a chain. The contingent marched with thousands from the immigrant rights movement down to Foley Square to join the trade unions rally.
The joint rally between the immigrant rights movement and the unions reflects a growing understanding that there is a need to unite different sectors of the working class. The anti-union attacks on public sector workers in Wisconsin, the massive job loss and unemployment, and increased anti-immigrant enforcement measures such as Secure
Communities, potentially linking local police to federal immigration enforcement, are all part of the global economic crisis.â€¨â€¨â€œNo worker and no human being is illegal,â€ continued Brodsky. â€œWe are not to blame for the economic crisis â€¦ Enough of the anti-immigrant, anti-workers attack!â€
In continuing celebration of International Workers Day, Ugnayan is organizing a Restaurant Workers Appreciation Day on Sunday, May 15.Â Ugnayan’s Justice for Adriane Campaign recently won a victory when U.S. civil court awarded youth restaurant worker Adriane Padilla with $26,000 in stolen wages and compensation from her former Barrio Fiesta restaurant employer Sonny Manlapaz.
On May 15, Ugnayan will recognize restaurant workers in the Filipino community in Woodside, Queens, for the labor and service they provide.Â Participants are welcome to join and assemble at 12pm at Woodside Plaza, along Roosevelt Avenue, between 59th and 60th Street.
To volunteer or participate, please contact Chevy Evangelista, Mass Campaigns Officer, atÂ (347) 298-7964Â orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.