For ten years they labored without a union suffering from low wages, being cheated in the computation of their overtime and holiday pay, and night differentials, and being sexually harassed by the owner of the company; for more than two months they steadfastly held on with their strike. All of these bore fruit on Sept. 22 when the Bluestar Manufacturing Workers Labor Union (BMWLU) emerged victorious. The victory of the union is a fitting tribute to the strength of women workers who comprise 85 percent of the labor force and who fought alongside their male co-workers.
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
It was starting to get dark when workers of Bleustar Manufacturing Inc. went out of their factory located inside the RMT Compound in Tunasan, Muntinlupa. It was Sept. 27, five days after the union received the good news.
Just outside the compound, a makeshift stage was set up. Mono-bloc chairs were lined up in rows. What would serve to be the backdrop was covered with a manila paper. The ‘stage’ was positioned a few meters away from the railroad.
Children as young as three tagged along their mothers and fathers. They are sons and daughters of union members and of residents along the railways.
There were no balloons and other adornments but the faces of those who gathered there that night were bright. They claimed victory in their 73-day strike.
Gloria Bongon, vice president of the Bluestar Manufacturing Workers Labor Union (BMWLU), was all smiles when interviewed by Bulatlat.
When asked what she thought was the key to their victory, she said, “Pagkakaisa, determinasyon, paninindigan.” (Unity, determination, principles.)
She continued, “Paano ka naman magtatagumpay kung magkakawatak-watak? Solid kami, walang kumakalas.” (How could you win if you are not united? We were solid, nobody gave up.)
She even apologized for her voice, still hoarse from shouting their demands.