Day of Action to Stop Wage Theft 2009
South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice (SFIWJ) and other members of the South Florida Wage Theft Task Force joined Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natasha Seijas on Tuesday, November 19th, to denounce wage theft and to announce a pending local ordinance to address wage theft in our community. A press conference that included testimonies from several victims of wage theft was held at the Stephen P. Clark Government Building in downtown Miami. Rabbi Solomon Schiff, a longtime advocate for workers' rights, spoke on behalf of SFIWJ.
Wage theft is the illegal underpayment or nonpayment of workers; wages, and is epidemic in our country. South Florida AFL-CIO President Fred Frost stated, "Wage theft is immoral, unethical, and further deteriorates our community and economy. ;It cannot be tolerated."
Commissioner Seijas announced that the county-wide wage theft ordinance would be introduced by January.
Wage theft, while a national crisis, is especially acute in South Florida. SFIWJ President Rabbi Solomon Schiff said, "The problem we have here is because much of the industry deals with low-wage employees. We have hotels, we have immigrant farmworkers."
Levis Torres of WeCount!, a grassroots organization in South Dade, introduced two sisters. Julia and Margarita, along with their sister Marcella, worked at a nursery, but were not paid for the many hours they worked. Currently, Julia is owed $3100, Margarita is owed $4000, and their sister Marcella is owed $600.
Levis stated, "This is a clear example of the abuse committed by the exploitation of the most weak among us. We need a change. We need a change so people can collect money that they've earned; money that they deserve. We should not have to wait for days, months to collect this money. We need to change these laws that are exploiting our community."
Be a part of this much needed change and contact us at SFIWJ if you would like to know how you can be more involved.
November 19, 2009 - Associated Press
"Miami-Dade leaders to fight wage theft"
MIAMI -- Miami-Dade Commissioner Natasha Seijas announced a plan to combat the problem of wage theft - an effort that could serve as a model for cities nationwide. Thursday morning's announcement is part of a series of actions across the country to raise awareness about the issue of workers being underpaid or forced to work long hours with no overtime. Wage theft happens every day to thousands of mostly low-income, often immigrant, workers. The most egregious cases often go to trial, but most don't. With the economic downturn, the problem is only getting worse.Community and religious leaders in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and other cities will also hold demonstrations and other events.The Miami-Dade County Commission is likely to take up the issue in January.