Immigrant Workers Forced To Spread Themselves Too Thin

3 12 2009

On a similar topic of my previous blog, after reading a story on Bayan-USA NorCal Chapter’s blog (http://bayanusanorcal.wordpress.com/) I wanted to shine light on the physical and mental effects of the economy on Filipino immigrant workers in the US.  As I noted before, the economic downturn has cause a lot of stress on workers.  Layoffs and underemployment have pushed many immigrants to take on multiple (often up to 3) low paying jobs.  They are being forced to work too long and too hard in order to make ends meet for their immediate families and to be able to continue to support relatives.  This type of a life style is not sustainable and will have large negative effects on physical and psychological well being.

Danilo Orcullo who’s life is honored in the blog, died while he was working at Oakland Airport.  His death is attributed to having “worked to exhaustion in multiple jobs for meager wages.”  Danilo was a hero, working to improve conditions and rights for his fellow immigrants and workers as a member of PAWIS (Peoples Association of Workers and Immigrants).  This is a devastating story but what makes it even worse is that Danilo was the third person in PAWIS that collapse while they were working!

The author of the blog blames the Philippine government for the fact that Filipino immigrant workers in the US are often forced to overwork themselves.  He says that the government has failed in harboring economic growth in the Philippines, which in hand means they cannot provide enough jobs for their population.  Most shocking was the statistics: “the 9.2 million overseas Filipino workers… are responsible for propping up no less than half of the Philippine economy with the money sent back home.”  This is certainly not an ideal design of a country’s economy.  I hope to see in the future that the work of heroes such as Danilo will pay off and conditions will be better for immigrant workers in the US and for Filipinos remaining in the Philippines.

-Bobbie

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