BAGUIO CITY (May 1) — In line with the celebration of International Labor Day, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)-Cordillera launched a workers’ school here named after the first chairperson of KMU, Felixberto S. Olalia Sr.
Felixberto Olalia Sr. was one of the fore labor leaders who fought for the rights of Filipino workers. He established the militant union National Federations of Labor Union (NAFLU). His legacy includes winning the workers’ demand for an eight-hour labor day instead of 12.
Olalia was regarded the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Labor.”
First established in Manila in 2002 attended by thousands of workers, the Felixberto Olalia Sr. Workers’ School (FOSWS) is an educational discussion festival that aims to empower the workers’ through trainings and seminars.
After five years of establishment in Manila, KMU-Cordillera decided to establish FOSWS here in the region to “develop a center of rights and welfare” of Cordillera- based workers according to Nida Tundagui of KMU-Cordillera.
“This will be a great help because knowing your rights as workers is knowing what you are fighting for,” Tundagui said while discussing the importance of FOSWS.
She added that the aim of this discussion festivals is to strengthen the knowledge of the workers even without going to formal education.
“This will help in arousing, organizing and mobilizing for our common goal,” KMU member Anette Jala said.
The FOSWS has an issue-based curriculum that includes discussions on Philippine History, trade unionism, and para-legal trainings.
The school provides an orientation about organizing unions in the work place and worker-capitalist relations that explains the rate of exploitation of workers. In the para-legal training the workers are taught labor laws in defense of their rights and welfare.
The courses offered in the FOSWS are free of charge for interested labor unions and workers. # Eric Escalante and Corlene Lalas for NORDIS