It was in the 80’s after I graduated from college that I decided to give it a try working in a factory since it was much easier to get hired than looking for a white collared job that usually requires experience and…a backer (a somebody inside a company who can back you up.)
Anyway, Mattel Philippines, Inc. or MPI as how we call it then used to have its factory in Barrio Ugong, Pasig City which is just a short distance ride from our place. I can’t help but reminisce the days I spent working there each time I happen to pass by on my way to Tiendesita’s (shopping center) or taking my shortcut going to Cubao. A college friend encouraged me to try, she works as a face painter.
I was assigned at the Injection Section, the armature area, then transferred as a deflasher (trimmer of excess plastic material) where I became one of the fastest deflasher of accessories in our shift during that time. Me and my operator partner always reach our daily quota & most times, we even go beyond that. Our teamwork pays off. Mattel never fails to give credit to employees who works hard, we were given free meals at the canteen, gift checks, and a Top Performer Doll as our trophy which is a Barbie doll dressed up in our very own uniform, or whatever is the latest edition that year.
Anyway, later on, I became an operator too (Injection Molding Machine) and was good at it. Months before Mattel closed its operations in the Philippines, I was personally chosen by the Head of Quality Control in our shift to be trained as a QC, but of course, it didn’t take off. There’s a looming labor dispute. And the rest is history, I was heartbroken. I enjoyed working in Mattel, but I belong to the batch of neophytes having worked for 2 years only. Surely most of my batch mate would rather accept whatever reconciliation was being offered to us during that time just to keep our (my first) job. But the voice of the old timers have more weight (majority wins) who are we to oppose? So we have no other recourse but to join the picket line.
I was wondering, now where did all those weekly deduction of “union dues” went to? I don’t remember being given any notice or refund, neither being given free meals at the picket line, or maybe I’ve missed it…darn!!