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Proud to be Migrante BC, Proud to be Union Activist



By Erie Maestro – MIGRANTE BC
Vancouver-Canada
July 1, 2017

 
 


Migrante BC members, many of them, work in unionized workplaces, are union members or union organizers. Migrante BC is proud to highlight the work of several of our Migrante BC members.

Marcelina “Lina” Agulay, a member of BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU) local 303 Community Social Services, attended the  50th Triennial Constitutional Convention and the Equity and Human Rights Conference in mid-June as a First Time Delegate,  and a proud Delegate at that.

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in BC in the public and private sectors. A good part of the membership includes men and women whose jobs include taking care of children in various daycare centres and facilities, like Lina who is an Early Childhood Educator at the YMCA.

Of her first Convention, Lina Agulay said,”The experience of being with other women during the women's caucus meeting was very empowering.   And the convention made me a new "ME". As a delegate, my passion to stand for other people became deeper and I will continue to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters for our rights.”

At the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) Equity conference last May at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, Migrante founding member Jane Ordinario spoke as part of the panel on the theme of Rising Together: Roots, Struggle, Strength.  With her were Dr. CJ Rowe from Qmunity, Yuly Chan of Chinatown Action Group, Byron Cruz of Sanctuary Health, Carissa Rapponen of WAVAW, Jane Dyson of Disability Alliance and Carol Arnold of the BC Teachers Federation.  At the end of the panel discussion, delegates and speakers left the conference hall and joined the sidewalk rally at St. Paul’s Hospital to support the more than 4000 HEU housekeepers and dietary workers demanding fair wages and job security. Ordinario and two other Migrante members Boying Anonuevo and Leo Alejandria, also an organizer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) marched with the HEU workers.

Cora Mojica, HEU labour activist and Migrante BC member spoke eloquently at the rally and asked for public support “to pressure the government, health authorities and employers to sit down at the table and give us what we need.”

Elizabeth “Beth” Dollaga, an active member of local 15 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), was a delegate to the CUPE BC Convention last April in Victoria. She spoke on behalf of a resolution highlighting the impacts of Canadian mining operations overseas and of a resolution supporting the work of Migrante BC with temporary foreign workers. She also represented CUPE BC in the National CUPE Global Justice Committee meeting in Ottawa last June and helped in the Committee statement against martial law in the Philippines and for the resumption of the peace talks in the Philippines. Beth Dollaga is as a Special Education Assistant in the Vancouver School Board and actively involved with Migrante BC and the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights.

Leo “Tzhong” Alejandria, Migrante BC member and a union organizer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is active in the Justice for Janitors Campaign which recently saw the cleaners at Capilano University win their right to join SEIU earlier this June. Tzhong Alejandria worked as a school Maintenance worker for a number of years.

The participation of Migrante BC members in the labour movement reaffirms our call that migrant rights are workers’ rights; that the unions and grass roots organizations should continue to work together to push forward a genuine and militant workers movement.  

As Jane Ordinario said in her speech at the HEU conference: “It is in the mass movement where we will make gains, where we will be able to move forward. This saying is true— the gains of migrant workers are the gains of the working class movement and the reverse is true, an injury to one is an injury to all.”


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