Category: Latest News

BBC Interview on Wage Theft in the U.S. with Arise Chicago

bbc_world_serviceBBC Interview on wage theft in Chicago and the U.S. with Arise Chicago’s Adam Kader.

“A large number of employees are accusing their companies of effectively stealing their pay from them”

Adam Kader tells how widespread the problem is, “wage theft is incredibly common; it’s standardized in many low wage sectors.”

Listen to the full interview here:

Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance Passes City Council Unanimously!

Liliana

As a result of the months of collaboration between Arise Chicago and Alderman Pawar (47th ward), on Thursday, January 17th, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance stating that, should a business owner be found guilty of wage theft, the owner’s business license could be revoked. This makes Chicago the largest city in the country with anti-wage theft legislation. The ordinance, endorsed by the National Employment Law Project as one of the strongest actions a municipality can take to combat wage theft, will impact hundreds of thousands low-wage workers and their families in Chicago.

Ald. Pawar

“This ordinance helps change the conversation about good business. To be pro-business also includes caring about how employees are treated,” reflected Alderman Pawar (right).   “I think this marks an important step in leveling the playing field for the many ethical business owners in our city.”

Arise Chicago Worker Center member Liliana Baca (below) said, “I worked for over 55 hours a week for five years at a grocery store.  And I never received overtime pay. This is my wage theft story.  But I’m not the only one who has a story.  So many people have had their wages stolen, and this ordinance will help them recover their wages and prevent wage theft from happening to other people.”

Liliana

 

The ordinance gives desperately-needed tools to the city of Chicago to ensure employers obey the law.

 

Follow the latest on the new anti-wage theft ordinance by joining Arise Chicago on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Two Arise Board Members on Front Page of the Chicago Tribune

Rocio Trib story imageArise Chicago Board members Rocio Caravantes and Prof. Bob Bruno were featured in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune cover stories about the urgent need to raise the minimum wage.

Said Rocio in the article, “It is impossible to live on $8.25 an hour… Not even three jobs are enough. I earn $495 biweekly. The first check goes to rent — it’s $500 a month. The second is for transportation, food, (phone) and education.”

 

See a video of Rocio’s interview on her commute to one of three part-time jobs from the Chicago Tribune.


Golan’s Workers Win Strike and Return to Work With First Contract!

Golan’s Workers Win Strike and Return to Work With First Union Contract!

You marched. You rallied. You prayed. You boycotted. You organized. You hosted Golan’s workers to speak to your members, congregants, and community leaders.

And WE ALL WON!!  

The heroic workers at Golan’s Moving and Storage have ended their strike, returned to work, and are now working under their first union contract as members of Teamsters Local 705 and they continue to be worker-members of Arise Chicago!

Striking For Justice

Your support helped give these workers the incredible hope and perseverance they needed during their six-month strike, including during the coldest days of the season.

The Golan’s workers will NO LONGER be forced to work off-the-clock each day. Many workers had as much as $4,000 stolen from them each year, as they were forced to work off the clock up to 15 hours a week!

The Golan’s workers will NO LONGER have to pay a “deposit” of $500 when they are promoted to be the foremen or driver of their crew.

The Golan’s workers will NO LONGER have ridiculous, illegal deductions taken out of their paychecks on a regular basis. In fact, they are getting a raise in their wages!

“The Golan’s workers’ unity and determination has been awesome!” said Rev. C.J. Hawking, Executive Director of Arise Chicago.  “The workers have their dignity, a contract to protect their rights, and they have built an amazing solidarity network across Chicagoland, laying a foundation for the next struggle.”

After six months of striking, the workers marched back into work and the replacement workers walked out for good!

NoeNoe Velasquez (left), a Golan’s worker for 3 ½ years said, “I feel so much better because we know that we are now protected, and they won’t violate our rights anymore. There will no longer be the injustice, abuse or exploitation we experienced.”

Join us in celebrating with the workers by sharing your messages of congratulations with a #CelebratorySelfie!

 

Worker Freed from ICE Detention / Trabajador Liberado de Detención de ICE

Worker Freed from ICE Detention right to organize w:o retaliation

Last month a group of Mexican immigrant bricklayers contacted Arise Chicago for help regarding one of their co-workers who was facing imminent deportation following an arrest based on a report made by their employer in retaliation for their efforts to collect wages owed them.

Arise Chicago organizers quickly discerned that the bricklayers were owed thousands of dollars in back pay for construction work they had already performed. When the men demanded that their boss pay them, their employer  threatened to call local law enforcement and have them arrested. When the men insisted that they be paid,  their  boss reported them to the DuPage County Sherriff’s Office which arrested two of the men for  driving without a license and turned one of them, Santiago Vazquez,  over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for reinstatement of an old deportation order.

Santiago has resided in the US for more than 15 years, is a Chicago homeowner and the father of two teenage girls, both of whom are lawfully residing in the US in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

It is unlawful to retaliate against employees who collectively complain about working conditions, and Arise staff was highly suspicious of the role of local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities played in the case. Arise organizers contacted Arise Legal Advisory Board attorney Kalman Resnick, who requested that ICE grant Santiago a stay of deportation so he and his co-workers  could pursue their claims for unpaid wages.

ICE quickly granted the stay of deportation and released Santiago.  Kalman and his law partner, Josh Karsh, with assistance from Arise Chicago, are now preparing to file a lawsuit to recover the wages due Santiago and his co-workers.

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Trabajador Liberado de Detención de ICE

El mes pasado, un grupo de trabajadores inmigrantes de la construcción, se comunicaron con Arise Chicago para solicitar ayuda referente a un compañero de trabajo, el cual enfrentó una deportación inminente tras haber sido arrestado basado en un reporte hecho por su empleador en represalia por sus esfuerzos en reclamar los salarios que se les deben.

Los organizadores de Arise Chicago enseguida descubrieron que la compania les debía miles de dólares por trabajo que ellos ya habian realizado. Cuando estos hombres le exijieron a su jefe que les pagaran, su empleador los amenazó con llamar a las fuerzas del orden para que los arrestaran. Cuando los trabajadores insistieron  por su paga, su jefe los reportó ante la Oficina del Sheriff del Condado de Du Page, el cual arrestó a dos de ellos por manejar sin licencia, y enviando a uno de ellos, Santiago Vázquez, a la oficina del Buró de Vigilancia de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE), para la reinstalación de una vieja orden de deportación.

Santiago ha vivido en los Estados Unidos por mas de quince años. Es dueño de casa en el área de Chicago y padre de dos hijas las cuales residen legalmente bajo el estatus de acción deferida (DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Es ilegal el uso de represalias en contra de los trabajadores que, en conjunto, se quejan acerca de las condiciones de trabajo, asi que Arise Chicago tuvo considerables sospechas acerca de el papel que las fuerzas del orden y las Autoridades Federales de Inmigración jugaron en el caso.

Los organizadores se comunicaron con el abogado Kalman Resnik, miembro del Comite de Asesoria Legal de Arise, el cual solicitó al ICE que aplazara el proceso para que Santiago y sus compañeros  puedan seguir sus reclamos por el salario que se les deben.

ICE suspendió el proceso de deportación y liberó a Santiago. Kalman y otro abogado de su despacho, Josh Karsh, junto con la asistencia de Arise Chicago, preparan ahora una demanda legal en favor de recuperar los salarios que se le deben a Santiago y su compañeros.

 -traducido por Luis Juárez
 

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