Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A call to boycott payment of the 10% fees!

A call to boycott payment of the 10% fees!
A call to repudiate our contract with UPI!

Immediately upon our arrival here in the US, we were asked to sign a contract with Universal Placement International (UPI). There was no effort by UPI to explain the stipulations of the contract nor were we given substantial time to review the document.

We were told by UPI that the contract is simply the same as the one that we signed with PARS in the Philippines. And those who questioned were met by intimidation, with the threat of being sent back home. Still exhausted from the long trip, we signed the document despite our apprehensions.

It is clear that UPI intended to hide the details of the one-sided contract from all of us. It is now apparent that Lourdes Navarro is deliberately concealing important information from her clients.

She knows that once we arrive here in the US, we will have no other option but to follow her policies no matter how oppressive or unjust. Navarro knows that we can not easily back out as we have already spent a lot for the processing of our visa, placement fees, plane fare and other related expenses. Further she is aware that we don’t have our family and friends here whom we could easily approach for help.

This unjust contract with UPI stipulates that: “For the first twenty-four (24) months of employment, Client will pay Agency ten percent (10%) of client’s gross monthly income, payable monthly, commencing with the 1st pay period.” We were made to believe that the 20% of our projected annual gross income that we paid upfront to UPI and PARS in the Philippines is already our payment for the placement fee. Some of us thought the 20% fee we paid earlier is already our advance payment to the 10% being asked for in the contract.

On top of the 20% that we already paid, we are appalled that we will then be made to pay another round of fees – 10% of our monthly gross salary on our second year – which was never discussed or agreed upon in the Philippines.

The 10% additional fee is unjust! In fact we have paid more than what is required for us by the deceitful contract. While we only received a temporary or acknowledgement receipt for our payment, it is a hard evidence that shows that we have paid PARS and UPI 20% of our projected gross annual income. Bear in mind that we have not signed any other document requiring us to pay the 20% to UPI but we did, in good faith.

Further the contract has many questionable provisions and unfair stipulations. If you read the whole contract, it is full of provisions that ensure that the gluttonous Navarro receives our fees and get to keep the payments in all possible scenarios. See Sections A, B, D paragraph 3, E and G – that is a total of 13 paragraphs to protect the pockets of Navarro.

On the other hand, in the lopsided contract we are only given one provision, just one short paragraph, where we can collect from UPI. Section F on “Refund” states “In the event that the Agency does not provide client with at least one interview with a prospective employer, through no fault of the client, then agency will refund to Client US$150.00.”

One hundred and fifty US dollars!!! Half of the $300 required upon signing of the contract (section A paragraph 1). It simply means that in our agreement with UPI, whatever happens Navarro gets to keep the thousands of dollars that we paid! But if UPI does not perform its end of the agreement they will simply give us $150!!!

Observe further how this unjust contract describes UPI’s end of the agreement – “provide client with at least one interview.” Is that what they promised us – one interview? Lest we forget, what UPI committed to us are jobs!

In simple terms this is what PARS and UPI wants to happen: Give Navarro $300 and she promises to provide you her services, then give her $1000 so she will process your papers, then give her $10,000 for placement fee, then give her 10% of your income in your second year. But if Navarro fails to do what she promised, then she is willing to give you back $150!

Lulu Navarro, a convicted felon, is preying on our vulnerabilities as individuals. This greedy criminal will continue these corrupt and oppressive practices not only against us but against more of our Filipino brothers and sisters who, just like us, are hoping to fulfill their dreams for their respective families.

Navarro’s strategy is to divide us and prevent us from uniting against her, from voicing out the oppression we went through. Please let us not allow UPI, PARS and Navarro to continue bullying us. Let us not allow UPI, PARS and Navarro to hurt more families.

The time for fence-sitting has expired. The time to procrastinate is over. We are left with no choice but to fight back together! We are left with no other option but to fight now! Join us as we attack this monster from both the legal front and through democratic actions.

Let us boycott the payment of the 10% fees!

Let us boycott UPI in the renewal of our visa and in any other transaction!

Let us repudiate this excessive and deceitful contract with UPI!


Pinoy Educators Network (PEN)

(To be part of this campaign and the actions that we are undertaking, please email your complete name and cell phone number to gurongwagi@pinoy.org. One or two of our leaders will get to meet with you once we verify your identity. Remember that you can trust us with your identity as this blog is the number one enemy of Lulu Navarro.)