Thursday, November 10, 2011

PALEA member in Los Angeles cry harassment by PAL, PM-USA vows support

Press Release
November 10, 2011

A member of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) is crying harassment by Philippine Airlines (PAL) for being refused boarding on a flight back to Manila from Los Angeles. Belle Savellano, PALEA members and PAL employee for 28 years, was not allowed to board the PAL LAX-MNL flight last November 6 for being allegedly on “blacklist of PALEA members.”

[Link to video clip of LAX incident:]

“We need to go back to the Philippines since my husband should have gone back to work last November 8 and my children also should have started school on the same day. Also my 80-year mother wants to be reunited with her relatives. My family is suffering because of what PAL is doing,” Savellano explained.

Ian Seruelo, liaison officer of PM-USA who is assisting Savellano in her fight, asserted that “We believe this petty persecution is meant to force Savellano to accept the separation offer and sign up for the service provider which is desperately in need of skilled and experienced workers from PALEA. But Savellano refuses to be a scab and is one with the 2,000 PALEA members who have defied the outsourcing plan.”

Seruelo together with representatives of Filipino-American groups BANTAY Pilipinas-Los Angeles, Alliance Philippines and Echo Park Community Coalition accompanied Savellano to the Los Angeles airport last Sunday. The groups also issued an appeal for Filipino-Americans to boycott PAL.

Savellano and family flew to the US on October 19 to visit their relatives in San Diego using her employee travel benefit that was approved before the lock out. On October 23, PAL supposedly issued an “internal memo” that renders Savellano’s return ticket useless.

“We condemn the violence and other harassment tactics employed by PAL against PALEA. Last October 29, goons hired by PAL attacked the PALEA protest camp. Now, PAL issued a memo unjustly rescinding the earned travel benefits of these employees. Clearly all of these are meant to harass protesting workers. We call on the public to continue supporting the struggle of PALEA for decent jobs,” Seruelo insisted.

The Fil-Am groups vowed to increase its efforts to campaign for the boycott of PAL until the flag carrier has heeded the demands of PALEA for the return to their regular jobs. They believe that the fight against corporate greed is exemplified in the struggle of PALEA. They jointly declared that “The oppression of PALEA is a reflection of the plight of ordinary workers all over the world. We have to fight back as we are all PALEAns!”

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