Can’t get a break: Story of Filipina migrant workers

Often, in the spheres of the Global Forum of Migration and Development and/or the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, icons of migrant workers are those that look like the pictures below. Smily. Shiny. Happy. Eager. 

But in the real world, the one that’s not smily. Not shiny. Migrant workers are dealing with some really complicated issues.

Most recently, in California, Filipino nurses filed a discrimination lawsuit against Sutter Health-California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and St. Luke’s Hospital in the Bay Area. Administrators claimed that they were told not to hire Filipino nurses. Even though, Filipino nurses comprise more than half of nursing staff in any given hospital in the Bay Area. And heck, many hospitals in any major city in the US.

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure to view an uncut version of the documentary, “The Learning” by Ramona Diaz. It’s a moving documentary about Filipino teachers from the Philippines moving to Baltimore, Maryland to work, their struggles with being away from home, the transition of dealing with American students and, America, and the contradictions in the process.

A couple of days ago, Colorlines magazine writes about an alarming trend among Filipino migrant workers in the US. Michelle Chen writes, “Filipina workers just can’t get a break these days.” Damn right.

There’s definitely something up with Filipina migrant workers and the type of discrimination they’re facing in the US.

I’m gonna think and sleep on this more tonight. I’ll write through it tomorrow morning.

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