Filipino Labour Day Links

by Leonard ... and we don't mean Longaniza.

Labour Day signals the end of summer, is a statutory holiday and traditionally a day of rest and leisure.  It's your last chance to fire up the grill, pop a cold one and lounge in the sun before the brisk chill of autumn ushers in old man winter.

Summer is almost over.

So have a fun, relaxing day -- but do take a moment to remember that Labour Day was originally a day to pay tribute to workers, worker's rights and the struggles that labour leaders went through to afford us all the benefits that we now enjoy -- like having today OFF.

After the jump are a few reminders you before you break open another brew and throw another BBQ stick on the hot coals.  Have a fun holiday!  

"Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers."

Crispin Beltran

Crispin 'Ka Bel' Beltran was a Filipino politician and a labour leader. A staunch critic of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, his imprisonment in 2006 and 2007 on disputed charges of rebellion and sedition drew international attention. As a member of 13th Congress of the Philippines with the Anakpawis or the 'Toiling Masses Partylist' and former chair of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), a militant and progressive labor movement, he was a major figure in contemporary Filipino history.  Crispin Beltran passed away this past May 2008, shortly after visiting Toronto.


Philip Vera Cruz (leather jacket) with other labour workers

Philip Vera Cruz was a Filipino American labour leader, farmworker, and leader in the Asian American civil rights movement. He was a co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association to become the United Farm Workers. As the union's long-time vice president, he worked to improve the working conditions for migrant workers.  Along with Cesar Chavez, Vera Cruz's name is synomymous with the struggle for worker's rights in the United States.  Philip Vera Cruz passed away in 1994.


Carlos Bulosan

Carlos Bulosan worked as a farmworker, harvesting grapes, asparagus and other kinds of hard labor work in the fields of California.  He was active in labor politics along the Pacific coast of the United States, working everywhere from fields and plantations to Alaskan canneries.  A progressive writer of labour struggles, he was blacklisted by the FBI due to his labour organizing and socialist writings.  Sadly, Bulosan died in 1956, poor and destitute -- with no idea that his work would one day be so greatly celebrated.  His most enduring work is the novel "America Is In the Heart", which you can find on Kapisanan's resource shelf.  

The Carlos Bulosan Theatre Company is named in honour of Carlos Bulosan and presented "The Romance of Magno Rubio" in 2005, a play set in Bulosan's era about farm labourers in California.

the cast of "The Romance of Magno Rubio" (2005)