For these workers, unionism does wonders


MANILA – For Jomar Corral, 28, joining a union is one of the best decisions he has made.

Corral, a worker in a factory of eyeglasses in Biñan, Laguna, told Bulatlat that through their union, he and his co-workers were able to clinch wage hike and benefits.

Corral said the recently signed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has won for them P10,000 signing bonus, a daily wage hike of P45, meal allowance amounting to P60 per day, P5,000 worth of medicines and educational assistance for those with children, among others.

Corral, who joined the Labor Day protest in Manila today, May 1, said that unionized workers receive wages higher than the minimum wage set by government wage boards. They are paid P545 per day, or P75 higher than the P470 minimum wage for Calabarzon.

Aside from economic benefits, Corral said the union has also addressed their grievances. “Since we formed the union, the management could no longer suspend us that easily when we accidentally scratch the lenses,” Corral told Bulatlat in Filipino. “Now, we have a process favorable to the workers.”

Corral belongs to a small portion of unionized workers. Government data show that only 4.2 percent of establishments with 20 or more workers had registered unions in 2020. On Labor Day, Corral and other workers also amplified the beauty of unionism.

Like Corral, Jocelyn Pabalan, 42, is proud of being a unionist for the past four years. She is a member of Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Span Asia Carrier Corporation, and has been with the logistics company for four years.

“When I became a regular worker, I joined the union immediately,” Pabalan said in Filipino. “The union serves as our voice.”

Pabalan said that because of the union, they get above the minimum pay, health insurance, leave credits, and other benefits.

The unity of workers as expressed through the unions is the biggest win for all workers, said Ferdinand Bonite, a long-time unionist of Skycable Supervisors Professional/Technical Empployees Union.

Bonite is one of the founders of their union 23 years ago. In a CBA signed just this January, he said that they were able to clinch salary hikes of P3,700 for the first year, P3,900 for the second year and P4,000 for the third year of the CBA.

The CBA has maintained their benefits, such as health insurance for the workers and their three dependents, rice subsidy, 33 sick leave credits for those working in the company for 25 years, among others.

He said that the CBA negotiations initially reached a deadlock in December. “Thanks to the union members for standing together; the management was compelled to heed our legitimate demands,” Bonite said in Filipino.

In joining the protest, the three workers have added their voices to the call for across the board P750 national minimum wage for all Filipino workers. (

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