The Cost of Wage Theft

10 Jun

0071-1012-0314-4235_embezzler_running_away_with_money

 

“The workers arrive at the Center tired, frustrated and almost without hope of being paid. They have only their faith in God, which helps them continue believing that they will eventually recover what they need to support their families. They wait, and wait, for the law, which is always slow. And once they win their cases, they wait more-because they cannot recover what they are owed.”

 

Those are the words of Director Maria Marroquin of the Day Worker Center, speaking about the unlawful practice of wage theft and the consequences and troubles for those it affects. Wage theft takes many different forms: it can involve being paid “under the table”, employers denying access to legal meals and breaks, late paychecks or bounced paychecks, forced overtime, no overtime pay, the withholding of a worker’s tips, or any other action that defrauds a worker. Though there are federal and state laws in place, the enforcement of wage theft laws is left in the hands of the local governments here in California. Each locale deals with wage theft in a variety of ways, some with more success than others.

 

For instance, San Francisco currently was able to recover the owed minimum wages for 99% of the cases involving wage theft. However, things aren’t going quite so well in nearby San Jose, as well as across the rest of the United States. Even when companies or employers have been found in court to owe wages to their workers, the full amount frequently remains unpaid. Making the situation even more difficult is the pressure against workers if they think of reporting wage theft. Some fear losing their jobs if they speak up, others are threatened with deportation if they are immigrants, a few have been blacklisted in their industries, and many simply do not understand their rights or where to find help.

 

Those who are victims of wage theft suffer from depression, stress, anxiety, and hunger. An inordinate amount of victims are people of color and women. Wage theft is particularly rampant in service industries such as with restaurant and caregiver jobs, it’s present in construction jobs, and bad also in a number of other jobs. Undocumented workers are often taken advantage of, lured in with promises of money only to find that they will not be paid for their work followed by threats of deportation if they seek help. The average worker loses around %15 of their wages in a given year. There are also the matters of the employer avoiding paying necessary taxes, not providing correct tax forms for the workers to complete their own taxes, and undermining businesses who operate legitimately by lowering the buying power of consumers.

 

What these companies are doing is illegal. There is no doubt about that. The loss of wages negatively affects families, communities, law-abiding businesses, and government agencies. There are a few organizations, centers, and government agencies that can assist workers who have had their wages stolen. The list includes but is not limited to: PAWIS, ICAN, AACI, SIREN, MAIZ, the Day Worker Center, WorkSafe, Restaurant Opportunities Center, the NAACP, the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center and the Workplace Justice Initiative.

 

Wage theft is an issue that will only be resolved by everyone working together to penalize employers, advocate for workers, and established education surrounding workers’ rights and wage laws. If you would like more detailed information about, please refer to the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Report or stop by one of the organizations named above. Know your rights, get help, and don’t give up.

 

Michon

Coming Events

6 Jun

This summer will be an exciting time for the Day Worker Center and the community. There are several wonderful events coming up in the next few months and we’d be honored if you joined us! Dates and information are below:

Microsoft Volunteer Fair

June 5

This fair gives Microsoft employees the opportunity to find out more about volunteering with local nonprofits, like DWC. Mountain View Microsoft campus.

 

Community Meetings

June 6

Community Meeting to discuss preventative strategies against wage theft. Mexican Heritage Plaza.

 

SFO/PIA Leadership Summit

June 7

SFOP/PIA Leadership Summit- Preparing to launch a collective campaign platform. Trinity Church, 330 Ravenswood Ave, Menlo Park.

 

NDLON Day Workers’ Conference

June 9-13

NDLON Day Workers’ Center’s National Conference in Los Angeles.

 

Roberto Moran Ordination Anniversary

June 14

50th Anniversary of the ordination of Rev. Roberto Moran. St. Joseph’s Church, 582 Hope Street, Mountain View.

 

Information Session at Sacred Heart

June 16

Informational Session at Sacred Heart, 13716 Saratoga Avenue.

 

Volunteering in Beautification Project

June 19

Volunteering in beautification project at Fremont Open Space Preserve. Fremont Older Open Space Preserve, Cupertino.

 

We hope to see you there. Please direct any comments and/or questions to the Day Worker Center email, leave a comment on this post, or call.

Day Worker Center Needs Donations for Kitchen Renovation | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

27 May

The Day Worker Center does much more than help the community and companies come together around jobs. As pointed out in the article by Jim Neal below, they have big hearts. They provide blankets to children, host blood drives, until recently provided meals, and so much more.

Today is Memorial Day, a holiday meant to remember those who have died after they fought for us. It’s a day to reflect on the actions of those from groups we normally don’t think of when we consider who has served our country. The practice of honoring deceased soldiers dates back hundreds, nearly thousands of years. The practice of honoring the departed in the U.S. goes back to the Civil War. One story involves former slaves paying homage to the brave people who fought and died for their freedom.

There are people here fighting for their freedom today. The freedom to work, to be paid a fair wage, and to seek care for their health and well-being. The Day Worker Center is run not by military soldiers but by a dedicated staff all the same that believes that the sacrifices they make will lead their patrons to economic freedom. They put useful tools into the hands of those who are often forgotten, those struggling to better themselves, and who want to do it in a country that promises freedom by the actions of those protecting it.

The Day Worker Center would like to bring their kitchen up to code but they need your help to do it. Investing in them is investing in the community and its workers. We honor those who served and died in a divided nation. Let us remember to also honor those who serve now, in multiple ways and in many different roles. I do not mean to draw attention away from the brave soldiers of the past. I only hope to remind you that there are still people today in a variety of jobs and services that are not often thanked or supported. If you know anyone who’s been able to move forward because of the Center, or if you were someone they helped, please consider giving back.

You never know whose lives you might touch with a good meal in a warm and renovated kitchen.

For more information, please refer to the article below and the Day Worker Center website, found here.

http://www.mv-voice.com/square/2014/05/21/day-worker-center-needs-donations-for-kitchen-renovation

Revival

21 May

image

After a long hiatus, it is my pleasure to announce that the Day Worker Center blog is officially back in action. I speak very little Spanish but being around the wonderful volunteers and community that the Center brings in will fix this in due time. I walked into the Center this morning to meet with the staff and discovered all the ways I could help and learn.
My journey starts on the other side of the country. I spent most of my childhood in the Midwest wishing I could get back to California. I missed the variety of people, languages, and opportunity. I finally made it back here and I feel there are a few similarities between my situation and those of the people who make use of the Center’s resources.
There are people searching for jobs, for skills, for a chance to start over. Having moved so often in my youth I am no stranger to beginning anew. This state I left as a young child is both familiar and alien. I must learn new ways of thinking, stretch my talents so they grow to benefit others, and manage to communicate effectively with others who speak a language I do not know.
I am excited about this new chance, this revival, this ability to step into unknowns and emerge from the other side changed for the better.
The Center boasts a warm space, dedicated staff, eager volunteers, and hard-working patrons. There are dreams for the future nestled in the gardens they’ve planted and with time and cooperation those seeds will grow and bloom into realities for all who are touched by the Center. I look forward to being a part of a Center that truly cares about its community, that provides tools to better oneself, and that has so many walking around the grounds and offices with a sparkle in their eye and a smile on their face.
From this moment on, I’ll keep you updated on events, stories, and resources for the Day Worker Center. One day soon I hope to also post in Spanish! Feel free to let me and the others at the Center know about the things you want to see and hear on this blog.

Michon

DIA DEL INMIGRANTE

28 May

Spanish below English.

Immigrants Day

Hello to all the users of this blog.

To mark Immigrants Day I want to talk about what happened in Sacramento, where people and leaders from various organizations met to present legislative proposals that support the immigrants of California and their families. A fellow worker and I are from San Jose, CA, and we went representing the Day Worker Center of Mountain View in collaboration with the organization SIREN of San Jose. The action began early in San Jose, where we met to begin the trip to Sacramento, capital of the Golden State. Upon arriving in Sacramento I was impressed by all the people and organizations that had come from all around the state of California meeting each other and sharing ideas. After everything finished everyone from the group that had come from San Jose divided in two in order to start working. The work plan was this: meet with state leaders and representatives to be able to speak with Assembly members and present proposals or laws that support immigrants in having a better quality of life. Some of the proposals were:

AB 889—give rights to domestic workers.

SB 1064—reunite immigrant families.

SB 1313—law to protect users of medical insurance from fraud and deceptive businesses.

AB 1899—Access to education for survivers of crimes.

AB 2015—Phone calls for parents held in custody.

And especially the proposal that I was given to present, AB 1081—the TRUST Act, which refers to the Secure Communities program that was implemented in 2008 and through which around 70,000 people have been deported, 70% of whom didn’t have sentences and were accused only of minor crimes, leaving families separated and a fear in the community.

The TRUST Act would establish that local governments wouldn’t comply with the requests of the ICE to retain people  for deportation unless they had committed a serious or violent crime. The TRUST Act would help people to not be handed over to the ICE if they haven’t committed a felony or don’t have a previous conviction. We understand that all countries around the world want to live in safety and the US isn’t an exception, but in reality this law has affected our community when it has been implemented unjustly.

All of these proposals were presented to a few assemblymembers, Nora Campos from the 23rd District, and Luis A. Aleja from the 28th District. Of course both are Latino and willing to support these proposals for the good of the community.

I was very impressed by the two assemblymembers, that they made time for us and the way in which they treated us.  These two assemblymembers come from humble working families and it gives me pride that they are now in the legislature of California representing us Latinos. Anyways, it was a great experience to meet and learn about this great immigration movement. I hope that in the future these proposals will be accepted for the good of the Latino community.

Thank you to everyone and God bless my community and those who are true leaders.

Hola a todos los usuarios de este blog.

Con motivo del día del inmigrante quiero  comentarles lo que sucedió en Sacramento donde personas y líderes de varias organizaciones nos reunimos para presentar propuestas legislativas que apoyan a los inmigrantes de California y sus familias. Yo y mi compañero somos de San José, CA y fuimos representando el Day Worker Center de Mountain View colaborando juntos con la organización SIREN de San José. La actividad comenzó desde muy temprano en San José lugar de reunión para comenzar el recorrido hacia Sacramento capital del estado dorado, al llegar a Sacramento me llamó la atención toda la gente y organizaciones que venían de todo el estado de California relacionándonos y compartiendo ideas, ya después todo el grupo que veníamos de San José nos dividimos en dos para comenzar a trabajar. El plan de trabajo fue este: reunirnos con líderes estatales y representantes para poder hablar con asambleístas y presentar propuestas o leyes en apoyo a los inmigrantes para una mejor condición de vida. Algunas de las propuestas fueron estas:

AB 889–proporcionar derechos a los trabajadores domésticos.

SB 1064–reuniendo familias inmigrantes.

SB 1313–ley para proteger a los usuarios de seguros médicos de fraude y comerciales engañosos.

AB 1899–acceso a educación para sobrevivientes de crímenes.

AB 2015– llamadas telefónicas para padres en custodia.

Y especialmente la que a mi me tocó presentar, esta fue AB 1081–ley de Confianza. La cual hace referencia  a la ley de Comunidades Seguras la cual fue implementada en el 2008 y por la cual se han deportado alrededor de 70,000 personas los cuales el 70% no tenían condenas y fueron acusados solo de delitos menores quedando familias desintegradas y un miedo en la comunidad.

El acta de confianza establecería que el gobierno local no se someta a las peticiones de ICE de retener personas para su deportación al menos que tenga un delito grave o violento, la acta de Confianza ayudaría a las personas a no ser entregadas en las manos de ICE cuando no han tenido felonías y sin una corte previa, entendemos que cada país del mundo quiera vivir en seguridad y USA no es la excepción pero en realidad esta ley ha afectado a nuestra comunidad cuando se ha implementado injustamente.

Todas estas propuestas fueron presentadas a algunos asambleístas del capitolio, Nora Campos del Distrito 23, Luis A. Alejo del Distrito 28 por supuesto los dos latinos y dispuestos a apoyar estas propuestas para el bien de la comunidad.

Me llamó mucho la atención de estos dos asambleístas hicieran un tiempo para nosotros y en la forma en que nos atendieron, estos dos asambleístas provienen de una familia humilde y trabajadora y es un orgullo que hoy se encuentren en la legislatura de California representándonos como latinos. Total que fue una gran experiencia conocer y aprender de este gran movimiento de inmigración. Espero que en el futuro estas propuestas pueda ser aceptadas para el beneficio de la comunidad latina.

Gracias a todos y DIOS bendiga a mi comunidad y a los verdaderos lideres.

The Day Worker Center: Un lugar de superación

21 May

English below Spanish.

Estoy profundamente agradecido con el DWC y en especial con la Sra María Marroquín por el tremendo apoyo que nos brinda a todas las personas que acudimos al DWC. Antes de acudir al DWC yo pensaba que era un lugar donde uno venía solamente a pedir trabajo o en el peor de los casos a perder el tiempo.

Grande fue mi sorpresa cuando llegué aquí y me di cuenta que es un centro donde uno puede superarse de diferentes maneras. Por ejemplo aquí he podido mejorar mi inglés ya que los maestros son muy buenos y muy pacientes porque son voluntarios y lo que hacen lo hacen de corazón.

Hay diferentes clases: como son de costura, de pintura, y de artesanías. Ahh, por cierto aquí en el Centro estoy aprendiendo a manejar  una computadora, y a subir este blog.

Gracias por su atención

The Day Worker Center: A place for personal improvement

Daniel Villavicencio

I am deeply thankful to the DWC and especially to Maria Marroquin for the tremendous support that she offers to all of us who come to the Center. Before going to the Center I thought that it was a place where one only went to look for work, or in the worst of cases to waste time.

I was very surprised when I arrived here and I realized that it is a center where one can  improve oneself in different ways. For example here I have been able to improve my English, since the teachers are very good and very patient because they are volunteers and what they do, they do from the heart.

There are different classes: like sewing, painting, and handicrafts. Oh, and by the way, here in the Center I’ve been learning to use the computer, and how to put up this blog post.

Thank you for your attencion.

Daniel Villavicencio

Saved! Adventures in my Youth

18 Apr

La versión en español sigue la de inglés.

In the year 1970 there was a terrible earthquake in Peru, my home country, in which around 70,000 people died. At that time I was 17 years old and lived in Lima, the capital of Peru. The epicenter of the quake was in the northeast, in the cordillera of the Andes above the altitude of 10,000 feet (3000 meters), where very tall mountains were forever covered in snow and where there were some isolated towns.

Soon after the disaster there was a general call for volunteers to come and help the thousands of victims that now were without homes or food, and in many cases were dead or trapped alive in the debris.

I was a teenager thirsty for adventure, and together with three friends we decided to answer the call to help and went to the disaster zone. We went by foot almost the entire time in the mountainous area, since the roads were destroyed or in bad condition and were impassible for motorized vehicles, since the geography is very rugged and the climate inhospitable.

Once at our destination, we began our work of helping people to rebuild their homes, remove the debris, etc.

When it was time for us to leave, the roads were still closed, but in any case we decided to leave and to leave on foot, a bold decision that would later give us a huge scare and much suffering.

We put on our backpacks and began the crossing of these mountains, which are very similar to the Alps with much snow and precipices, almost no vegetation, and very cold.

Some neighbors in the town had told us that it wasn’t going to rain, that the weather was going to be more or less good, wrong!! From one moment to the next the sky darkened and a ferocious storm began, with thunder and lightning that came down against the mountains around us. We began to panic, since we were basically without protection, dead with cold, and without adequate equipment for this kind of weather or for emergencies.

Within a few seconds we were soaked with watered and a wind blew furiously in our faces. The situation was indescribable, it felt like a horror movie. The cold was terrible and we didn’t have a place or shelter in which to protect ourselves. We tried to hug each other and curl up together but it wasn’t much help. I felt like I was going to die and I’m sure that my friends felt the same. Nobody spoke, we just shivered.

At some point I began to feel faint, thinking that the end had arrived, and under my breath I made a prayer to commend myself to God, and upon finishing, what a surprise!! I saw light from a lantern lighting up our faces. They were 3 men dressed as mountaineers with their appropriate and adequate equipment. They found us by chance and helped us. I still remember in the middle of that drama and pain feeling the happiness and excitement that surely everyone who is rescued must feel.

Those men put up a small tent as soon as they found us to give us a temporary shelter, although the weather was still very bad. They covered us with blankets and gave us hot drinks. I will always be thankful to those anonymous men who with their solidarity for others saved our lives.

I never heard from them again, and now after more than 40 years I tell this story for the first time.

Ernichan.

¡Salvados! Aventuras de mi juventud

En el año 1970 hubo un terrible terremoto en Perú, mi país natal, donde murieron alrededor de 70,000 personas. En esa época yo tenía 17 años y vivía en Lima, capital del Perú. El epicentro de este sismo fue en el noreste, en la misma cordillera de los Andes a más de 10,000 de altura (3000 metros), montañas muy altas cubiertas con nieves eternas y donde quedaron algunos pueblos aislados.

Al poco tiempo de este desastre se hace un llamado general para ir como voluntarios y ayudar a miles de damnificados que se habían quedado sin casa ni alimentos y en muchos casos estaban muertos o atrapados vivos entre los escombros.

Yo era un adolescente y con ansias de aventura acudí al llamado de ayuda y con 3 amigos decidimos ir a la zona de desastre. Lo hicimos a pie casi todo el trayecto de esta zona montañosa, ya que los caminos estaban destruidos o en mal estado y no podían circular vehículos motorizados, ya que la geografía es muy accidentada y el clima inhóspito.

Ya en el lugar de nuestro destino realizamos nuestra labor, como ayudar  las personas a reconstruir sus casas y remover los escombros etc.

Llegó la hora de regreso pero los caminos todavía estaban cerrados, pero de todas maneras decidimos partir y a pie, una decisión temeraria que más tarde nos costaría un gran susto y sufrimiento.
Ya con nuestras mochilas en la espalda empezamos el cruce de estas montañas que son muy parecidas a los Alpes con mucha nieve y precipicios, casi nada de vegetación y muchísimo frío.

Nos había dicho algunos vecinos del pueblo que no iba a llover, que el clima iba a estar más o menos bueno, ¡¡error!! El cielo de un momento a otro se oscureció y empezó una feroz tormenta, con truenos, relámpagos, y  rayos que se estrellaban contra las montañas cerca de nosotros. Entramos en pánico ya que estábamos básicamente desprotegidos, muertos de frío y sin equipo adecuado para esta zona y circunstancias de emergencia.
En segundos estábamos empapados de agua con un viento soplando furiosamente en nuestras caras. La situación era indescriptible, parecía una película de horror, el frío era terrible y no teníamos un lugar o refugio donde protegernos, tratábamos de abrazarnos y acurrucarnos unos a otros pero no era de gran ayuda. Sentía morirme y estoy seguro que mis compañeros también. Nadie hablaba solamente tiritábamos.

En un momento cuando ya me sentí desfallecer y pensando que me llegó el final hice una oración en voz baja para encomendarme a Dios y al terminar ésta, ¡¡oh sorpresa!! Vi unas luces de linterna que alumbraban nuestros rostros. Eran 3 hombres vestidos como alpinistas con sus equipos adecuados, que nos encontraron de casualidad y nos ayudaron. Todavía recuerdo en medio de ese drama y dolor el sentimiento de alegría y emoción que seguro deben sentir todos los salvados.

Estos hombres en cuantos nos encontraron armaron una pequeña carpa de campaña para darnos un refugio temporal a pesar que el tiempo todavía estaba muy malo. Nos abrigaron con mantas, y nos dieron bebidas calientes. A estos hombres anónimos que con su solidaridad a sus semejantes salvaron nuestras vidas, les estaré siempre agradecido.

Nunca más supe de ellos y ahora después de más de 40 años lo cuento por primera vez.

Ernichan.

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