Every year, millions of Filipinos seek for greener pastures abroad. A large percentage of them do so in the hope of providing a better life for their families. Others take the risk to find growth in their careers. The United States currently houses a great number of Filipinos, with a huge majority of them in the state of California alone.
While some Filipinos are successful in their search for a stable employment, there are those who struggle as we speak due to workplace issues, including wage theft, human trafficking, occupational safety hazards, unhealthy lifestyles, and on top of these, the need to make ends meet. To be in such a situation is overwhelming, but being Filipino in such times is reassuring for they will never be alone.
Aware of the immediate needs of their fellow overseas Filipino workers who strive hard to make a living in the state of California, a group of more than 600 employees have banded together to establish the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC).
Formed in 1997, PWC is a non-profit organization, which operates in the Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. One of their primary goals is to provide for “the immediate needs of workers and their families while at the same time, building their leadership to take collective action for long lasting change.”
To tend to Filipino workers, mostly domestic workers and caregivers, the PWC set up programs that offer legal assistance (especially on matters concerning immigration, filing of income tax, and workplace issues), financial assistance, and emotional support.
More specifically, since their inception, they have launched several assistance programs including:
- C.O.U.R.A.G.E. (Caregivers Organizing for Unity, Respect, and Genuine Empowerment), which is a campaign that helps caregivers address labor violations committed against them
- Healthy HiFi, or Healthy Historic Filipinotown, which promotes proper nutrition and helps educate Filipino workers on the topic
- Jeepney Tours, which aims to make Historic Filipinotown, as well as the Filipino community and the social issues they face, more visible to others
- Weekly food distribution and healthcare for its members
To further empower and boost the morale of their OFW members, the PWC also trains them in leadership positions within the organization and in other communities. Doing so provides exposes them to different settings, as well as add to their professional experience.
Additionally, the Pilipino Workers Center is also the home of two other groups: the Association of Filipino Workers (AFW), a global workforce composed of Filipino workers in the Philippines and overseas who promote human rights and welfare protection for themselves and their co-workers, as well as the Los Angeles Workers in Action (LAWIA), which works for a cause.
Indeed, groups like the Pilipino Workers Center exhibit the Filipinos’ innate ability to care for their fellow Filipinos, especially if they are in distress. This is especially true overseas, where they know they are stronger together.
If you have any questions or are interested to contribute to the groups cause, you may visit the Pilipino Workers Center website.
Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)
153 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90026