SF workers celebrate over $6.5M recovered in wage theft

SAN FRANCISCO – Over 75 low wage workers gathered in the heart of the Mission district to recognize the diverse community of San Francisco.

Latino, Chinese and Filipino workers and their advocates celebrated the strongest minimum wage measure in the country, the over $6.5 million recovered in wage theft cases since 2013, and the nation’s first Retail Worker Bill of Rights.

“Most of them come from immigrant communities, a lot of them are undocumented and so we see across the immigrant community – Latino, Chinese, Filipino workers are often victims of wage theft and other violations and so we work together as collaborative,” said Mario de Mira of the Filipino Community Center.

As of January 1st of this year, the new minimum wage in the city and county of San Francisco is $11.05, up from its previous $10.74.

With the passage of Proposition J this past November, San Francisco is set to have the strongest minimum wage law in the country, increasing to $15 by 2018.

And most recently the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Retail Workers Bill of Rights.

The law will require large chain retailers to post workers’ schedules at least two weeks ahead of time and workers will be owed supplemental pay if unexpected changes are made to their schedules, or if they’re required to be “on call”.

“The Filipino Community Center in the last few years helped mostly caregivers but a lot of low wage workers recover nearly $2 million in wages,” said de Mira.

One Pinay caregiver who chose to remain anonymous fought and won her case against her employer after reaching out to the Filipino Community Center.

“I begin my work at 6 o’clock,” she said. “I do all the household jobs. I clean the home. I wash the dishes. I wash the clothes, all the jobs in the care home. It’s my first time to have a job and I stayed there for two years.”

She received $14,000 out of the total $90,000 recovered from her former employer.

These San Francisco workers and advocates plan to contact more communities to make sure they are aware of these new rights and that they are being fairly compensated for their labor.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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