Filipino Seniors Forced to Work
Our great friend and long-time worker leader, Danilo Orcullo, died from heart complications on Monday October 26 after going into cardiac arrest on Sunday morning at Oakland Airport, where he worked for over 15 years. He was a father, grandfather, husband, friend, and a joker who improved lives with equal parts laughter and struggle.
Danilo fought tirelessly for the workers! An active union leader, Danilo defended workers’ rights to a union contract with UNITE HERE 2850 and was critical in leading his co-workers to win union recognition with SEIU 1877. As the Chair and founding member of the Peoples Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS), Danilo was relentless in fighting discrimination against immigrant workers and supporting his co-workers to overcome their fears and act together to improve their situation.
(video courtesy of Balitang America, ABS-CBN Intl.)
Danilo’s death hits close to home for many workers in the U.S. that work themselves to the bone, way past the age of retirement, until their health literally forces them to stop. Workers often have no other choice but to work multiple jobs to exhaustion because of meager wages and a lack of retirement funds and benefits. Particularly in these economic times, workers also feel constant pressure to work through fatigue in order to hang onto their jobs. In fact, Danilo is the 3rd airport worker and PAWIS member to literally collapse while at work at Oakland International – a painful example of how widespread the experience of working till ragged is amongst the many Filipino workers struggling to meet their needs in the U.S. while supporting family in the Philippines and around the world. Danilo devoted his life to understanding and improving this trying situation of Immigrant and all Workers.
He leaves us a legacy of fearless struggle, laughter and a fire that we will all keep alive!