Gibson: Fighting for stolen wages

Gibson is a local Portlander who worked at the Lyrik Café for several years. When the café was sold and came under new management, there were several changes. The new owner, Mike Lemmo had a different vision for the café, a direction that did not include a lot of the staff. It was clear to Gibson that she was not included in that vision, when Mike disproved of her appearance, called her a “dirty hippie” and made groundless accusations that she stole from the café. Later, he fired her via a text message. But not before he deducted over $100 from her final paycheck – the amount he claims she stole – and did not provide a pay stub.

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Carmen: winning with community support!

Like many low wage workers, Carmen felt that she and her co-workers were not being respected for their labor. On a regular basis, Carmen was required to work 15 minutes off the clock. In addition, there was no clear process to file complaints. When workers did complain, some of the managers ridiculed and verbally abused them. That all changed when Carmen took a brave step and decided to go public with her complaints.

By taking action and joining with her community and supporters Carmen was able to negotiate with the management. They did the right thing and wrote her a check for her missing wages. For Carmen this was not about the money, but was about respect for her and the other kitchen staff.

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Carmen: Fighting for wages and respect

For two years Carmen Lopez worked in the kitchen at Beaches Restaurant. The work is fast-paced from open to close. However, in order to prep for the days work Carmen and other workers have regularly been required to work off the clock by coming in early to prepare for the morning rush. Their prep time however is not paid for.

Carmen has had enough and on Thursday, April 26, she and a group of over 20 community members of the We Are Oregon Wage Theft Action Network delivered a letter to the management of the Portland Airport Beaches Restaurant branch.

Carmen’s request was reasonable – respect wage and hour law, the rights of workers, and pay her the wages she is owed for all of the off-the-clock hours she has worked.

Miguel: “Don’t be afraid to claim what’s yours”

When an employer contacted him to power wash the exterior of some apartments and do some painting, Miguel was glad to do the work. He recruited a friend to help and decided to split the $600 wage he’d been offered for the job.

Miguel and his partner completed the work and had it reviewed by the employer. The employer was happy with the work and promised to pay them the next day. However, the employer did not pay him the next day or the day after. Miguel tried calling the employer, but he made excuses and ultimately stopped answering any calls.

“When someone doesn’t pay you, it’s like they are making fun of you. They can do whatever they want with you and it’s not right.” – Miguel Angel

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