SAN JOSE, California - About 1,000 immigrant workers and their supporters marched to the San Jose City Hall calling for fair treatment in the workplace.
Many of them are undocumented. They said their employers take advantage of their lack of papers, and abuse them by giving them more work but less pay.
One undocumented Filipino worker said he was abused while working as a caregiver in a convalescent home. He said he would care for up to 24 patients and only receive $100 for a 12-hour shift.
“Kulang na lang pawis namin, dugo kasi talagang yung pagaabuso, yung pagsasalita, kung tawagin ka ng mga tao rito akala mo para kang alipin," he said.
Another undocumented Filipino worker, a former seaman, said he moved to the US for greener pastures. He found work as a caregiver for six disabled adults. He only got paid $64 a day for round-the-clock work.
“Napakahirap po kasi unang-una yung amo namin, naturingang mga Pilipino, then sila pa mismo yung nage-exploit sa amin,” he said.
Undocumented Filipino workers said if only there were enough jobs that provided good wages in the Philippines, they would have never left.
But they said the Philippines also offers very little. Recently, President Aquino rejected a P125 or about $3 across-the-board legislated wage hike, saying it could cause businesses to raise the prices of their goods and services, or even shut down.
“Yung isyu ng mga migrante ay konektado sa isyu sa Pilipinas dahil kung di mahirap yung buhay sa Pilipinas hindi naman tayo aalis. Ang mensahe sa presidente ay tumigil sa pagno-“Noynoying” at talagang tugunan ang interes ng mga kababayan natin,” said AV David, spokesperson for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
The daily minimum wage in the Philippines is P426 or about $10.
The workers are also calling on President Barack Obama and US lawmakers to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law, so those with undocumented status can look forward to working their way to legal status.