Day 19: What's it like to have a union?

Mga manggagawa ng Optodev Workers Union pagkatapos ng isang pulong sa opisina ng unyon. 2021.  


State agents like to demonize it when workers come together. They paint an image of a malicious organizer infiltrating a naive group of workers feeling tired of the daily grind. This organizer, poisoning the poor workers' mind with agitating calls to strike back! Strike back against the bosses, strike back against this government! Organizers so evil, they only have their own interest in hand behind their back. A devil who likes watching the world burn. 

Pouring so much resources into this demonization has badly hurt the tradition of workers' organizing in the Philippines. On the winning end, it is the victory of the State, of imperialist forces and their bureaucrat capitalists. At a loss, workers are constantly made distant from one another.

What have I seen, what is it like to have a union? As a baseline, you have an organization with people you have many of the same experiences with: receiving the same wage, surrounded by the same class forces, going the same route, having to solve many of the same problems. You have a common space, opportunities to talk to one another.

When a problem arises, you have a union to go to. You are able to mine a certain wisdom strengthened by a thousand workers' experiences of the same. A problem faced by young and old, men, women, and non-binary. Suddenly you don't have to think of it only by yourself. A powerful moment, like a giant hammer to a three-headed monster.

No wonder how much bureaucrat-capitalists seated in the State funnel into their repression. The fear of that strike must be so painfully clear. 

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