Filipino activists join protest vs APEC leaders meeting with US companies
Los Angeles – Dozens of Filipino activists protesting the Los Angeles visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. joined the picket line of hotel workers outside JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where Marcos held a meeting with members of the Filipino-American community on Nov. 18 (Sunday In Manila).
Activists from Malaya Movement USA and BAYAN Southern California—an alliance of progressive organizations, including Anakbayan, Gabriela, and Migrante—held a joint protest rally with hotel workers represented by Unite Here Local 11.
Also joining the rally were the activists’ non-Filipino allies, including members of the Palestinian Youth Movement.
Joy Sales, a member of Malaya Movement USA’s national executive committee, said the rally was part of their week-long action opposing the participation of Marcos and other world leaders in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.
“We are against Marcos and other heads of state coming to the United States and negotiating with different US companies,” she said. “One of the things we try to educate people on is that all of those neo-liberal policies, which can mean increased privatization and deregulation, those things are actually detrimental to workers’ rights and workers’ conditions.”
Sales said they joined forces with the hotel workers in alignment with their new campaign, “workers’ rights are human rights.”
No to APEC
“We also highlight that workers should be invested in saying no to APEC and no to these backdoor deals, pushing Filipinos to work abroad,” she added. “Many of us here are children of immigrants, who were forced to find work abroad.”
Sales said they support the hotel workers’ demands for better wages and better working conditions.
Unite Here Local 11 represents over 32,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California and Arizona.
It has called for a boycott of some 60 hotels in Los Angeles and Orange counties—including JW Marriott—that have not agreed to new labor contracts, urging that all conventions held in the LA area should “stay away from strike-ready hotels.”
Marcos arrived here on Nov. 17 for his first visit to Los Angeles since assuming presidency on June 30 last year. He flew in from San Francisco, where he wrapped up his engagement in the 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.