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Union Wins Landslide Victory

by staff |
April 13, 2006
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The Amado Kadena, a local union of National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) affiliated to the militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), attained a landslide victory in the certification election, March 27, at the food processing company Dole Phils in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Nick Galia, Vice President for External Affairs of the AK-NAFLU-KMU, said that the KMU-affiliated union garnered 3954 votes out of 4960 votes cast. He said this is the first time in the history of trade unionism in Dole Phils that a union is able to command 80% of votes. Moreover, Galia noted that it is also the first time that 94% of qualified voters have exercised their rights.

The AK-NAFLU-KMU has been the incumbent union in Dole Phils since 2001. Galia said that under their leadership, they were able to push for the regularization of more than 1500 workers. Other gains of the union in their collective bargaining agreement include monthly rice subsidies, bottom line bonus and a 10% wage increase for three years. The AK also pioneered a mini-mart program, which subsidized grocery items for workers at low cost.

Dole Philippines has had pineapple-growing operations in the Philippines since 1963. It is a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc. and employs about 20,000 people, including contractual workers. It is owned by the Murdock Group of companies.

KMU Executive Vice President Lito Ustarez, also the president of NAFLU, said, “The victory of AK is not only a victory for NAFLU-KMU but a victory for the labor movement. This is a victory that will further strengthen the pineapple workers in their fight for a new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and other struggles.”

Ustarez noted the spirit of excitement and cooperation in Polomolok even before the union victory, stating, “Despite the economic crisis, the women workers took a nine-day leave without pay in order to help in the election preparation and campaign. The whole family of the workers were together in this fight because they consider the union election their fight as well.”