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Justice for Young Filipina Restaurant Worker Adriane Padilla!

by Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008 at 6:28 PM
ugnayan.nynj@gmail.com 212-564-6507 New York

Recent advances in the Justice for Adriane Campaign, the unpaid wages campaign for young Filipina restaurant worker Adriane Padilla, launched last December 14, 2007, are pointing to a victory for Adriane and all Filipino youth restaurant workers. This January, Padilla and her lawyers agreed to meet with her former employers to explore a possible case settlement. Ugnayan welcomes this development to resolve the case as this could lead to a greater unity in the Filipino community towards promoting the labor rights, respect and justice for all Filipino youth restaurant workers.

Justice for Young Filipina Restaurant Worker Adriane Padilla!



For Immediate Release

January 16, 2008

Contact: Riya Ortiz, Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, 212-564-6057, ugnayan.nynj@gmail.com

New York — Recent advances in the Justice for Adriane Campaign, the unpaid wages campaign for young Filipina restaurant worker Adriane Padilla, launched last December 14, 2007, are pointing to a victory for Adriane and all Filipino youth restaurant workers. This January, Padilla and her lawyers agreed to meet with her former employers to explore a possible case settlement. Ugnayan welcomes this development to resolve the case as this could lead to a greater unity in the Filipino community towards promoting the labor rights, respect and justice for all Filipino youth restaurant workers.

Padilla is seeking compensation from her former employers, Santiago Manlapaz and Lilia Reyes, owners of the restaurant and bar formerly known as Barrio Fiesta in Woodside, Queens. Padilla demands that they pay her unpaid wages, overtime pay, and other wage violations that occurred during Padilla’s employment. She also wants the employers to issue an apology letter and to commit to respecting the rights and dignity of all restaurant workers.

As a result of the widespread media attention in print, internet and television outlets, extensive community organizing and outreach, and to avoid a costly court case, the employers decided to negotiate with Padilla and her legal team. The first settlement meeting happened on January 16, 2007; no agreement was reached. The next meeting has not been scheduled yet, but Padilla and her lawyers are still actively pursuing the case.

“This is not just about the money but a matter of principle,” expressed Padilla. “I deserve to get back every single penny that I worked hard for. With the help of the lawyers and organization, I will keep on fighting not only fighting for myself but for the other workers as well.”

Padilla is one of the thousands of educated, skilled youth from the Philippines who are forced to migrate because of lack of opportunities in the country. As many as 3,400 Filipinos leave everyday to work abroad, 70 percent are women, and 90 percent become low-wage workers.

Upon arrival in the US, Filipino youth like Padilla are pushed into low-wage service work where they become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Filipino restaurant workers, young and old alike, suffer from non-payment of the minimum wage, no overtime pay, no spread of hours wages, and very long work hours. Sometimes, they encounter problems with fully accessing their tips. The employers also often use their immigration status to further take advantage of them. In addition, the young Filipina restaurant workers are subjected to sexual harassment and disrespect from some male employers and customers.

The ever worsening economic crisis in the Philippines force even more established Filipinos like employers Manlapaz and Reyes to seek better economic opportunities in the US. As restaurant and business owners, they play a vital role in the local Filipino community because they provide basic and special needs – food, entertainment and social centers for our kababayans, dollar remittance, sending balikbayan boxes, and affordable plane tickets. They are also an asset to the US economy because they pay taxes to the US government and help in the physical, social and mental sustenance of the cheap Filipino labor that fills in many necessary work for the local US families and businesses.

However, small Filipino business and restaurant owners are not immune to the systemic problems plaguing the Filipino community as a whole, such as racism and racial profiling by the police. In particular, they find it extremely hard to do and build their business because of fierce capital competition. On the other hand, they tend to exploit, abuse and harass their workers, especially women, like Padilla.

“Ugnayan stands for the rights and dignity of all Filipino youth, especially young restaurant workers,” expressed Riya Ortiz, Mass Campaigns Officer of Ugnayan. “We vigorously support Adriane’s campaign for her employers to pay her unpaid wages and to issue a letter of apology.”

Ortiz also emphasized Ugnayan’s stand for unity in the Filipino community based on respect and justice. “Our whole community, especially the low wage workers, are facing extreme difficulties in our struggle to support ourselves locally and our families back home. We have better chances of surviving and thriving if we eliminate our internal contradictions and promote respect and mutual support to every sector in the Filipino community.”

Ugnayan also calls on all restaurant and business owners in Queens, particularly in Woodside, to help build unity in our community by respecting and paying fair and lawful wages to their workers.

For more information about the Justice for Adriane Campaign, please visit www.ugnayan.blogspot.com. ###

By Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan ugnayan.nynj@gmail.com http://www.ugnayan.blogspot.com 212.564.6057

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