NY-based Ilonggo worker fired from job for bedbugs

By Alex P. Vidal

“I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”—John D. Rockefeller

A VETERAN male caregiver from Bacolod City plans to lodge a formal complaint before the Department of Labor in New York City after he was terminated supposedly for bringing bedbugs in his workplace.

But Rustico (not his real name) denied he was responsible for bringing bedbugs in his workplace insisting he was illegally fired and his rights as a worker have been violated.

“There was no due process,” decried Rustico, a native of Mansilingan, an ecologically balanced, progressive, industrialized and peaceful village in Bacolod City, Philippines. “I was not given a warning and was terminated illegally before I could defend myself.”

Rustico, who turned 68 in November 11, denied he was a bedbugs carrier.

“We never had bedbugs in our apartment (in Queens). The workplace was already filled with bedbugs even before I was hired. I was wrongly accused and terminated (last week of October 2023) for a sin I didn’t commit,” he sobbed.

Rustico suspected there could be another reason or reasons why he was “indiscriminately” fired other than the bedbugs ruckus, and he wanted his former employers to explain everything “in the proper forum.”

On November 13, he went to the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDL) in the Lower Manhattan.


“I need your help,” Rustico appealed to a NYSDL staff. “I was illegally terminated, and I am filing a complaint against my former employers.”

The NYSDL staff handed him two documents to fill up. They were 1. Application for unemployment insurance assistance; and 2. Complaint for unfair labor practice.

Rustico wanted to prioritize the papers for unemployment insurance assistance “because I need money to pay my bills and buy my food.”

The following day or on November 14, a NYSDL staff called Rustico in his mobile phone to inform him the labor office would be assigning a case number after he has filed the formal complaint.

“At least, they (NYSDL) are willing to listen to me and, perhaps, to help me get justice,” Rustico enthused.

Rustico claimed he was “devastated” by the termination “because I didn’t expect it.”

He lamented that the termination “turned all my plans upside down because I was looking forward to avail whatever privileges due me as a legitimate employee in the end of the year. More than anything else, the wrong accusation (that I brought the bedbugs in my former workplace) has exposed me to shame and embarrassment. I suffered sleepless nights and mental anguish.”

Rustico’s former employers are expected to file an answer to his formal complaint after the NYSDL has assigned a case number and ready to hear both sides.


US PRAISES LEILA’S FREEDOM. The United States welcomes former Philippine Senator Leila de Lima’s release on bail after nearly seven years of detention on politically motivated drug charges, Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller has announced.

Senator De Lima’s release follows her acquittal in two out of three cases.

The United States, according to Miller, urges the Philippines to resolve the remaining case against her in a manner that is consistent with its international human rights obligations and commitments.


PINOY TNTS, OTHER ALIENS IN DANGER IF…Former President Donald Trump is reportedly plotting a mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants should he regain power in 2024, the CNN has reported.

Some of Trump’s plans reportedly include rounding up undocumented immigrants already in the US and placing them in detention camps to await deportation.

On November 11, Trump vowed to sign an executive order, on Day 1 of a potential second term, to cease funding the provision of shelter and transportation for undocumented immigrants.

He has also publicly said, according to CNN, he wants to revive many of his first-term policies to restrict both legal and illegal immigration — including reinstating a travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries and bringing back a Covid-era policy known as Title 42. Such plans would likely face fierce political and legal challenges.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)


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