On January 24th, ten former workers from Yaw’s Top Notch Restaurant won their campaign against wage theft and picked up checks from management. The workers confronted their supervisors over more than $1200 in unpaid waged for mandatory unpaid meetings, illegal paycheck deductions, and missing time cards.
When Gibson confronted her boss about wage theft, he challenged her to do something about it. That’s when she heard about the Wage Theft Action Network and within a week, she gathered dozens of supporters to confront the boss directly and demand her wages back.
With the support of the Wage Theft Action Network, Gibson held a series of actions to hold her former boss accountable for the wages he’d stolen. Last week, we organized two pickets and we finally broke through after weeks of our calls being ignored.
Martha Macias is an example of a worker who has had her wages stolen for the last three years. Martha worked at a neighborhood lotto deli. She is a mother of two and lives in an area where the bad economy has hit hard. Many see themselves as lucky to have jobs even if those jobs are not paying them for all their work. For Martha it became an issue of respect.
Her boss started taking money from their paycheck if they were off on the till. Once Martha was off roughly $6 and he deducted from her paycheck. She confronted him and he responded with “I don’t like to lose money.”
It was then that it clicked for Martha and she responded in kind. “I don’t like to lose money either and I am working 84 hours in an 80 hour pay period and I’m working those extra hours for free.”
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.
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