Day Laborers Recover $10,000 in Stolen Wages
DC Jobs With Justice
28 Oct 2009
Day laborers in DC scored another big victory on October 2nd: recovering over $10,000 in stolen wages for eight workers. Several members of the Union de Trabajadores de Washington, DC, a day laborer association, had been doing work on a DC public school building over the summer, and were paid less than promised. They reached out to DC Jobs with Justice and the DC Employment Justice Center, who quickly realized this public project entitled the workers to higher, “prevailing wages” for their work.
After reaching out to other workers from the project and talking with several building trades unions to confirm the proper rate, DC JwJ and the DC EJC went to the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization to discuss this violation of DC’s contracting laws. The Office collaborated in forcing the contractors to pay back wages, including proper overtime rates.
This victory not only secures justice for the workers involved, but sends an important message to contractors who believe they can hire immigrant workers and pay them lower rates. Current broken immigration laws invite such exploitation by creating a pool of undocumented workers who employers believe don’t have rights and can’t organize.