About

Who we are

The Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) is an NGO or non-government organization in the Philippines that provides various services primarily to workers, both from the private and public sectors or formal and informal labor. Its core programs are education (trade union, political and other popular or “liberative” education), research, publications, women or gender, solidarity and networking.

Brief History

LEARN was established in October 1986 or about eight months after the historic and world renowned Edsa People Power “Revolution” or Edsa 1, which ousted the 20-year Marcos dictatorship. Its founders were leaders of different trade unions outside the then mainstream labor organizations and major political or ideological blocs. They called for genuine workers’ empowerment by developing an alternative workers’ education that blends the economic, political and sociocultural struggles of the workers; propagates an alternative socialist system; and is guided by the basic principles oftrade union solidarity, democracy, self-reliance and autonomy.

LEARN stresses the principal role of workers’ education to raise workers’ consciousness of their conditions, rights and capabilities to change that condition. LEARN affirms that labor education is an integral component of strengthening workers solidarity in trade unions, civil society groups and with other social movements. LEARN upholds the belief that labor organizing and education are inseparable and must continuously be developed, especially
in the light of the new arena of struggle confronting the workers and other basic sectors throughout the world. In the current capitalist-led globalization – aptly called corporate or neoliberal globalization – the
scope and methods of oppression and exploitation have further been intensified. Its main economic programs – liberalization, deregulation and privatization – are sweepingly imposed worldwide. Supporting economic liberalization in the labor front are the systematic corporate “productivity” and labor “flexibility” measures that create a vast army of contractual and non-regular or informal workers, who are much “cheaper,” more “docile” and banned from joining unions.

LEARN fully supports the global efforts to strengthen the diverse social movements or civil society organizations – NGOs and POs (people’s organizations) – particularly the broad labor movement including the new forms of workers’ organizations encompassing the formal and informal sectors as well as new strategies of actions to attain a socially just, equitable, democratic, and peaceful world.

Networking & Solidarity

LEARN membership is mainly on organizational or institutional basis, particularly through the various working people’s organizations. But it is also open to individual trade unionists and worker educators. Member organizations are those that formally join LEARN and regularly pay dues; thus, are entitled to all the rights and privileges of being full-fledged LEARN members. For one, they have representatives and can participate in the General Conference (GC) – LEARN’s highest decision-making body – as well as in the Board of Trustees (BOT) and its Administrative Committee (Adcom). Non-member organizations that avail of any LEARN services or programs or with existing project cooperation or maintain some form of coordination with LEARN are considered partner organizations.

At present, LEARN member and partner organizations in the Philippines include a national labor center of private sector and informal workers; a national confederation of government employees; labor federations (general, industry, sectoral); workers’ alliances (according to a specific area, industry, sector, or conglomerate-based – such as of unions in a particular TNC/MNC or trans/multinational corporation); independently registered local unions; women organizations; community-based groups; mutual aid or self-help associations; cooperatives; NGOs; a multisectoral ideological bloc; and a political party (party-list).

Aside from this, LEARN continues to maintain, develop and open new linkages and cooperation with different organizations abroad, including several global unions or global union federations (GUFs) of the international labor movement; trade unions and NGOs in other countries; and several international institutions or organizations involved in various social advocacies.

Cognizant of the need to expand and revitalize the labor movement, LEARN continues to maintain, develop and open new ties and cooperation with various organizations in the country and abroad – primarily trade unions or labor-related organizations and women groups; but including also other POs and NGOs involved in different social advocacies. LEARN facilitates linkages and cooperation between and among its members and partners as well as other potential cooperating groups. Part of the efforts to forge contact-building and alliance-building or any other forms of partnership are meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences, forums, cultural programs, mobilizations or mass actions and other activities initiated or co-sponsored by LEARN, which enable trade unions and other organizations from different sectors or industries or localities to meet, to share their experiences and aspirations, and to express their support to one another.

Included here are LEARN’s support in establishing industry unions and alliances of unions in TNCs; providing secretariat work in international gatherings of trade unionists and social activists held in the Philippines; “connecting” local unions with global union federation (GUFs), international institutions, and trade unions and NGOs in other countries; and joining solidarity actions or sending protest letters to back up any struggle for labor, trade union, democratic and human rights anywhere in the world.

Affiliates & Partners

Cognizant of the need to expand and revitalize the labor movement, LEARN continues to maintain, develop and open new ties and cooperation with various organizations in the country and abroad – primarily trade unions or labor-related organizations and women groups; but including also other POs and NGOs involved in different social advocacies. LEARN facilitates linkages and cooperation between and among its members and partners as well as other potential cooperating groups. Part of the efforts to forge contact-building and alliance-building or any other forms of partnership are meetings, seminars, symposia, conferences, forums, cultural programs, mobilizations or mass actions and other activities initiated or co-sponsored by LEARN, which enable trade unions and other organizations from different sectors or industries or localities to meet, to share their experiences and aspirations, and to express their support to one another.

Included here are LEARN’s support in establishing industry unions and alliances of unions in TNCs; providing secretariat work in international gatherings of trade unionists and social activists held in the Philippines; “connecting” local unions with global union federation (GUFs), international institutions, and trade unions and NGOs in other countries; and joining solidarity actions or sending protest letters to back up any struggle for labor, trade union, democratic and human rights anywhere in the world.

MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

ACCUP – Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines

APL – Alliance of Progressive Labor = a labor center comprising 8 trade unions and labor organizations with more than 30,000 members

CIU – Confederation of Independent Unions in the Public Sector – A labor center in the public sector composed mainly of government employees.

KAMAO – Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero

MARINO – Mariners Association for Regional and International Networking Organization

NABU – National Alliance of Broadcast Unions

NUWHRAIN – National Union of Workers in Hotel restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN)

NUWDECO – NUWHRAIN Development Cooperative Inc.- A workers’ cooperative

PMA – Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance, A duly registered federation of workers in the automotive sector, metalworking, metal-forging, shipbuilding, and other metalwork-related industries and corporations.

PEUP – Philippine Postal Employees Workers Union

PEWU – Pilipinas-Kyohritsu Employees Welfare Union

WSN – Workers’ Solidarity Network

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS

1. Automotive Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA)

2. League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO)

3. Council of Filipino Nestle Unions (CFNU)

4. Philippine Cement Workers’ Council (PCWC)

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