Community activists for workers’ rights rallied in front of Alaris Health at the Fountains, in Secaucus, for what they feel were unjust terminations of Bernadette De Leon and Yolando Simon, both former dietary aides accused of stealing frozen foods.
The two immigrant workers were suspended without pay on May 29, 2014 and were eventually terminated on July 10, 2014 without the opportunity to tell their side of the story.
As members of 1199J, the suspension and termination, without due process, is in direct violation of Article XXVII Discharge and Penalties of their Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Anakbayan New Jersey Chairperson, Nina Macapinlac along with Hanalie Ramos of the Filipino Immigrants and Workers Organizing Project, spearheaded the rally which coincided with the arbitration hearing between 1199J, who represent the workers, versus Alaris Health.
“We are here to show our support to Bernadette and Yolando who are fighting against their unjust termination. We are here to show that the community is on the side of workers’ rights,” said Hanelie Ramos.
The protest concluded with a delivery of a letter addressed to Ms. Patricia Meyers, Adminstrator of Alaris Health. Ms. Meyers made the decision to terminate the long term employees, who were performance award recipients, without further looking into the alleged accusation.
Organizations like Anakbayan NJ and the Filipino Workers & Organizing Project, hope that other workers, with similar experiences, will use this case as encouragement to come forward.
The next 1199J versus Alaris Health arbitration will held on January 29, In the meantime, workers’ rights advocates will continue to chant, “When workers’ rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight Back!”