Chicago Filipinos boycott working conditions at NutriAsia plant

by Patricia Nabong, ABS-CBN News, Chicago

CHICAGO —Vinegar and soy sauce were spilled in front of the Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago, as Filipino-American activists and their allies continue various campaigns to demand justice and better working conditions for NutriAsia workers.

The Philippine condiment company owns popular brands like Datu Puti, Jufran, Mang Tomas, and Silver Swan.

This comes in the wake of the police’s violent dispersal of a picket line formed by workers of NutriAsia.

For months, workers have been on strike because of the company’s refusal to regularize them despite an order from the department of labor and employment, according to Kilusang mayo Uno.

 “NutriAsia, a multi-million dollar corporation has long put its workers in exploitative conditions with many working for less than 7 dollars a day in dangerous environments that can exceed a hundred degrees.”

Activists said they are fundraising for NutriAsia workers, connecting with trade unions for support and collecting signatures for a petition, which will be submitted to the Philippine government.

“Gagawa kami ng mga maraming outreach sa mga simbahan, sa mga grocery stores like Seafood City, sa mga Filipino organizations. And actually, sa Tuesday, meron kaming courtesy call or audience with the Philippine Consulate para i-register ang aming concern,” said Nerissa G.

“When I initially walked by, I thought it was one of those anti-Christ things, and I started to really look at what the signs said and I was like, whoa, this is affecting our other brown people, you know,” said one student.

“I’m black. They’re brown. We’re all brown. At the end of the day, you know, we have to support each other.”

NutriAsia said in a statement in June that they hope that the issue between B-Mirk enterprises, which they say is the employer of their contractors, and their workers will be resolved through dialogues.

Filipino-American activists in Chicago say this is only the beginning of the fight for accountability and better working conditions for NutriAsia workers in the Philippines.

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