Opinion: Discrimination déjà vu at Delta Western, Inc.

Maria Batayola March 20, 2015 0

Alaska and Seattle have a long-standing complex relationship with many of Alaska’s workforce coming through and/or coming from Seattle, and representing labor unions and parent companies located here.

At Dutch Harbor, Alaska, eight employees of Delta Western Incorporated, including Manolito “Mo” Reyes and Leo Dacio, filed a discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. The complaint alleges 1) substandard working conditions for Filipinos and Asian Pacific Islander employees living and working locally, 2) the ban on the use of Tagalog at the work place, 3) harassment, 4) retaliation, and 5) the termination of Reyes. Delta Western Incorporated is an oil distribution company.

Reyes and Dacio had previously filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The employees have been informed that Delta Western Incorporated will be prosecuted. This lends some credence to the discrimination complaint.

Four local civil rights organizations, the Filipino American Political Action Group of Washington, the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of King County, the Japanese American Citizens League Seattle Chapter, and OCA—Asian Pacific Advocates Greater Seattle sent a joint letter to Delta Western Incorporated’s parent company Saltchuk Family of Companies’ president Timothy Engle. They are asking him to intervene to mitigate the harm and prevent further discrimination and retaliation during the course of the EEOC investigation. Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance’s Rick Polintan participated in an initial dialogue with Mr. Engle.

“Didn’t we take care of this in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s?” OCA president Jacqueline Wu wryly commented. Apparently not as American amnesia continues. It all does sound so very familiar.

For more information, contact Rich Guirtiza, IBU, at rich@ibu.org; Adam Dalton, ILWU Marine Division, at adamdaltonibu@ymail.com; and Jon Brier, ILWU, at jon.brier@ilwu.org.

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