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Trade union leader from Philippines get solidarity in Milwaukee

By staff |
May 2, 2019
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The Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council with KMU leader
The Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council with KMU leader (Fight Back! News/staff)

Milwaukee, WI - The Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council welcomed Raymond "Mong" Palatino from Bayan, an alliance of progressive organizations in the Philippines, and Ed Cubelo from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) or May First Labor Movement, to Milwaukee for a very successful International Workers' Day event at the Milwaukee Area Labor Council on April 30.

Cubelo and Palatino spoke to a room full of labor, anti-war, environment and student activists about the political situation in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte is using widespread repression against the poor and working class people's movements as they oppose his Trump-like policies. Since Duterte took office, 42 labor leaders in the Philippines have been killed by extra-judicial means.

Over 200 labor strikes have been waged in opposition to neo-liberal policies like the expansion of temp work to 70% of the workforce, the use of ‘company unions’ and aggressive attacks on working conditions and labor rights.

Unionists, environmental activists, women's rights activists, human rights activists and Catholic priests have been the victims of illegal arrest and detention, arsons, torture, killings and political repression from Duterte's military and police forces.

In his speech to the labor council, Cubelo noted that despite all this, the people's movements in the Philippines are growing, and KMU is organizing the "difficult to organize" industries, like temp workers and call centers, with incredible speed and success. Because of their effectiveness, Duterte has slandered the KMU as "terrorists" in order to justify violent attacks on labor leaders and activists.

The atrocities committed by Duterte's military and police have been enabled by support of the U.S. government via the generous financial support of U.S. taxpayers, and of course, the political backing of President Trump.

The Filipino worker leaders also spoke to the Milwaukee Area Labor Council executive board about how the U.S. labor movement could stand in solidarity by calling on legislators to cut U.S. support for the Duterte regime.

A resolution calling for an end to U S. military aid to the Philippines was passed unanimously by the Milwaukee Area Labor Council delegate body on International Workers' Day, May 1.

The resolution condemns the human and labor rights violations committed by the Duterte regime and expresses solidarity with the people's movements in the Philippines. The resolution calls on Southeast Wisconsin's U.S. representatives to be advocates for ending U.S. military aid to the Duterte regime, and to support the House and Senate resolutions that could enact this change. The resolution will be used by activists to support the case against Duterte which is currently before the International Criminal Court.

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