May 2, 2012.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO NORTHRAIL 74!
One year na mula nu’ng na-lay off ang 74 employees ng NR whose services were no longer deemed necessary.
I kept in touch with some of the members of NR 74. But not with some. I think this is the first time that I’ll be telling about those who I decided not to communicate with anymore.
A day after the memo of lay off was issued, a few members of the NR 74 created a union. It was named NR EU (Northrail’s Employee Union). Not every laid off employee joined the group, including me.
I did not jojn the group, because, first, I am a part of the Human Resources and Managament Office (and HSE Dept). I just don’t find it right to ‘fight’ against the company management while serving the HRMO, it will jeopardize my loyalty of service to both (HRMO/EHS and the NR EU).
Second, I was frightened that if in case I join the union and my prospective new employers find out about it, it may be a ground for my application to be rejected. That thought was affirmed to me by my previous HRMO Sr Mngr, previous Admin Officer, my husband and mama (who was a member of OLLH EU until she retired).
Third, I doubted the legality of the EU. I’ve read a legal article that an EU should have atleast 30 days notice to the employer, and the employer should approve the employee’s request to form one. Though no employer is allowed to deny any EU formation request, I just decided to follow my instincts.
Before our first ‘monthsarry’ of being laid off, the NR EU was able to file a case at the DOLE REGION 3, for Illegal Dismissal, I guess. There were a lot of valid grounds, there were reasonable doubts to pursue the case. I was already tempted to join them and even planned to keep it as a secret from my husband.
I asked the wife of the NR EU’s president (she wasn’t laid off, her husband was), to keep me posted of the status of the case, and if possible, be the whistle blower from the inside. That was also the agreement between her and her husband.
Things were all fine during the first two months. On the third month, they stopped sending us updates. One time, a leader told us that if we want updates, then we have to formally join their group, attend court hearings, testify and totally neglect and disregard NR.
That was my tipping point. I felt guilty that I even planned to not tell my husband about my plan of joining. I finalized my decision and told them that I won’t pursue any case versus NR, and I’m withdrawing support for them.
Instead, I counted the blessings and help I got from NR. A portion of what we spent during our wedding, my pre-term hospitalization, delivery, Enzo’s baptism, house renovation, Enzo’s first birthday, some clothes and shoes, some financial support for mama and my siblings, some of our dates, were from NR.
The biggest thing I can be thankful for them is the chance they’ve given me to spread my wings. The NR management did not confine me to be just a company nurse, and wait for patients to come. They pushed me hard to my limit, to the point that I have to learn the ins and outs of HR, esp CompenBen. The NR management has given me enough experience and exposure in Administrative functions. The NR management also hone my Occupational Health and Safety knowledge and Skills. Plus the friendship I’ve built with my ‘boards’ (short for Board Members since we act like the bosses if our Sr Mngr won’t report for work, but only among ourselves).
Though I was laid off, they were able to prepare me for a life ahead of NR. Atleast, I can apply not just as a Company Nurse, but as an HR / Admin staff, OSH practitioner, and a Nurse. A Sr Mngr for HR once told me during an interview, ‘I would really like to keep you, because hiring you is like hitting three birds with one stone. But I can not afford you.’ haha. Ang mahal ko ba?!
There. Sa remaining members ng NR EU, I still wish you the best. Good luck and see you at the cross roads! 🙂