by Arcelita Imasa
Mabuhay kayo, manggagawa! Agbiagkayo, mangmangged!
This is ourfirst Hawaii Workers Corner column brought to you by the Hawaii Workers Center! We are very thankful to Hawaii Filipino Chronicle for this opportunity to serve you, our hardworking workers who build the foundation of our economy and society.
In this column, we will answer questions you may have about your rights on the job and what you might do about issues facing you at work. We want to inform you of important news, issues, and resources that may benefit you and your family. But first, let us introduce the Hawaii Workers Center.
The Hawaii Workers Center (HWC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting workers’ rights and improving the living and working conditions of Hawai’i’s workers.
The HWC seeks to empower you as a worker by providing you with the resources and support necessary to overcome difficulties and resolve issues at work.
Hawai’i has one of the highest living costs in the nation, and inflation has worsened this situation. Rent, gas prices, housing prices, and food prices are soaring.
Those who work in low-wage, non-unionized jobs, are immigrants and indigenous and are Filipinos and Pacific Islanders who have more significant challenges as workers.
So many of our kababayans work as housekeepers, kitchen and food industry workers, healthcare workers as nurse aides and nurses, carpenters, and construction workers, and work in sales and many more jobs. Many of our kababayans take on multiple jobs as well.
Through education and outreach programs, the HWC helps workers understand their rights and legal protections at the workplace, obtain necessary services and lawful guidance, and enhance workers’ health and safety on and off the job.
For this first column, we would like to share a very important announcement that requires your attention.
Attention, Workers and Medicaid Insurance Holders: Look out for a Pink Envelope!
If you currently have Medicaid insurance, watch for a pink envelope containing important renewal instructions. Make sure to read it carefully! However, if you no longer require Medicaid coverage, please call MED-QUEST at 1-800-316-8005 (TTY/TDD 711) to cancel your subscription. It’s crucial to inform Med-QUEST of any changes to your contact information, including your mailing address, phone number, and email. If you’ve recently moved or lost your pink envelope, contact Med-QUEST to inquire about your coverage status. You may easily report any updates to your contact information by dialing the number on the back of your Health Plan membership card. Alternatively, you can visit Medquest.hawaii.gov to find ways to contact Med-QUEST.
Workers, send your questions about your rights on the job, worker protections, or issues at work or in your community to email@example.com and put “Dear Hawaii Workers Center” in the subject heading.
We will provide answers in Hawaii Filipino Chronicle’s next issues!
Hawaii Workers Center
ARCELITA IMASA is a practicing family physician and the secretary of the Hawaii Workers Center’s Executive Committee of the Board. She grew up in the Philippines before migrating to Hawaii with her family more than a decade ago.
by Arcelita Imasa