Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Food and commercial workers in solidarity with Morong 43 

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 president Ivan Limpwright allied his union with imprisoned Filipino health care workers, the Morong 43, yesterday.

"We represent health workers and activists fighting for job security, better wages and working conditions here in British Columbia, and it is also important we recognize the struggles and fights of those fighting for the same ideals elsewhere," Limpwright was quoted as saying in a UFCW news release.

The 43 workers were arrested by armed soldiers and police on February 6 while at a seminar on rural disaster preparedness in the home of a well known doctor and university professor, according to an article from Canadian Dimension.

The article notes the group was interrogated, tortured and charged with terrorism and membership in the New People’s army guerilla movement.

Supporters and relatives of the 43 are calling for the newly inaugurated Phillipine President Benigno C. Aquino III to release the 43, two of whom are pregnant and one who suffers from epilepsy, according to a recent report.

"We have about 2,500 health care workers here in B.C.. Many of them are of Filipino descent or are immigrants from the Philippines," said Andy Neufeld, communications director for UFCW 1518. "There is a community of interest here with what’s happening there."

Mable Elmore, NDP MLA for Vancouver-Kensington, has previously called on the Philippine and Canadian government to take action, according to her website.

"It’s a very strong statement from the UFCW," Elmore told the Tyee. "I'm hoping that the new [Philippine] president will look into these matters and personally intervene," said Elmore.

Solidarity with the 43 could also be shown by the UFCW and Canada by focusing on the plight of underemployed Filipino health care workers in Canada, Charlene Sayo, executive director of the Filipino Women’s Centre of B.C., told the Tyee via e-mail.

Many educated Filipino health care workers in Canada end up working below their education level as nannies and child care workers, wrote Sayo.

The Tyee called Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon for comment, but his office was unable to respond by deadline.

Justin Langille reports for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus