SAN JOSE, Calif. – Chants against wage theft echoed through this San Jose, Calif. neighborhood Saturday afternoon as protesters demanded justice for two Pinoy caregivers.
They are protesting against Bayview Care Home and its former owner, Filipina Lolita Bautista, who reportedly refused to pay over $80,000 in wages that were already awarded by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office to Jude and Jeanette Carpio.
The mother and son caregivers filed a wage theft claim against Bautista last year.
“We’re here to show that we will not let these cases continue to happen,” said Michael Tayag of the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS). “This is not an isolated incident. We’ve seen trafficked teachers, nurses, all workers in all industries facing exploitation and wage theft and the community will not allow for it.”
The Carpio’s told Balitang America that after nearly eight years of working for Bautista they were shocked a fellow kababayan was not paying them properly.
“Of course as a Filipino you expect they are going to help you because they know the feeling of being away from their country,” said Jude Carpio. “It’s hard that they are also a Filipino but they are doing this to their own countrymen.”
The advocates are also pushing for wage theft campaigns in the city of San Jose, the county of Santa Clara and in the state of California so that cases like this will not happen again.
“Employers like Lolita Bautista have found ways such as changing the ownership of their business or filing for bankruptcy in order to avoid paying for unpaid wages for which they are liable,” said Tayag. “And what we’re doing in the city, the county and the state is create stronger enforcer mechanisms so that employers who owe workers who have been awarded judgment by the labor commission are held liable for paying that.”
Protesters and the media attempted to speak with the care home’s other caregivers to get a hold of Bautista but there was no answer at the door.
Balitang America also tried to reach Bautista via phone but there was also no response.
Nonetheless, the Carpio’s are thankful for the help from their advocates and encourage other workers who are victims of wage theft to seek assistance.
As the lawyers for the Carpio’s continue to work on getting Bautista to pay their back wages, these protesters say they plan to hold more protests until the Carpio’s are paid what they rightfully deserve.
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