Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines

KMU Rally

Kim Scipes interviewed a top leader in the Kilusang May Uno (KMU, or May First Movement) Labor Center in 1986 about what it meant to be a genuine and militant trade union:

By “genuine,” we mean that the KMU is run by its members.  The members are given all information and decide the policies which run the organization.  By “militant,” we mean that the KMU will never betray the interests of the working class, even at the risk of our own lives.  The KMU believes workers become aware of their own human dignity through collective mass action.  By “nationalist,” we beleive the wealth of the Philippines belongs to the Filipino people and that national sovereignty must never be compromised.  The KMU is against the presence of the U.S. bases. (Scripes, 10)

Scipes states that:

The statement about never betraying the interests of the working class, even at the risk of KMU leaders’ own lives, is not hyperbole; many KMU organizers, leaders and members have been arrested and or killed. (ibid.)


Scipes, Kim.  KMU; Building Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines, 1980-1994.  Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers, 1996.

4 Responses to “Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines”

  1. 1 Kim Scipes March 9, 2010 at 10:23 am


    I just stumbled on your web site, and was gratified to see your mention of my book on the KMU of the Philippines. Thank you!

    However, I also noticed that you had misspelled my last name: you have it as “Scripes” and it should be Scipes (no r).

    If you could change this, I would appreciate it. It would also allow more people to find this on the web.

    Thanks again for the notice!



  2. 2 Jack Stephens March 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Ooops! My bad! Thanks for the comment. LOVED your book. I recently was in the Philippines, integrating with KMU, last August and am going to go back in July of this year.

  1. 1 Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines « The Mustard Seed Trackback on July 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm
  2. 2 Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines « The Ghost of Tom Joad Trackback on July 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm

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