Comite de Defensa del Trabajador – Worker Defense Committee


Big victory for the CDT
April 12, 2010, 4:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In late March, after a long negotiation and threats of further action, the CDT claimed $17,000 in owed overtime wages for two committee members.  The boss, Larry K of Great American Bagels, admits that he hasn’t paid any of his employees overtime wages at any point over the last five years.  He blames a clerical error and has promised that he will make good and pay all of the workers at Great American Bagels what they are owed.

Want to make sure that Larry K makes good on his word?  Call Great American Bagels at 206.763.4300 and ask him yourself!



“accused deadbeat bosses on notice”
April 11, 2010, 12:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In January 2010, a CDT fight against an unlicensed contractor made local news.

This fight is ongoing

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cdt going public
April 11, 2010, 12:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In late October 2009, two CDT fights were covered on national TV.



Wage Theft in the News – Cobertura de los medios de comunicación sobre el robo de salario
September 9, 2009, 2:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The press has started to pick up on wage theft.

The New York Times says:

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated (eng)

NPR covers the great work of the New Orleans Workers’ Congress:

A Day’s Work Doesn’t Mean a Day’s Pay (eng)

The Southern Povertly Law Center highlights violations of Latin@ worker rights in the South US:

Under Seige: Life for Low-Income Latin@s in the South (eng)

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) has put out some interesting studies on the matter:

Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violation of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities (eng)

Confronting the Gloves-off Economy: America’s Broken Labor Standards and How to Fix Them (eng)

and Chris Benoit and his committee in El Paso are letting us know that wage theft crosses borders:

Empleadas domésticas preparan demandas (esp)



un mensaje de trabajador p
May 13, 2009, 12:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Primero tratamos de negociar con él. Lo hicimos firmar unas formas de pago, nos convenció que nos iba a pagar a las fechas que nosotr@s le pusimos. No cumplió con el trato que habiamos hecho. Despues fuimos a su casa para buscarlo y hablamos con él de porque no había cumplido con los terminos. Nos respondió que no nos iba a pagar y nos corrió de su casa. Entonces, nosotr@s paramos e involucramos dos abogad@s. Durante seis meses, entonces dejamos de tener comunicación con el patron porque creíam os que l@s abogad@s resolverian el caso pero dijeron que no podian cobrar dinero de una persona que no tenía dinero.

Entonces me había dado porvencido y perdido mi caso. Yo quería declarar mi caso cerrado. Pero con el gran apoyo del Comite de Defensa del Trabajador entonces yo les sugerí al grupo tomar unas ultimas acciones para ver si pudiermos hacer algo más. Entonces investigamos otra vez información de su domicilio fuimos a buscarlo. Y despues fue el grupo con pancartas y volantes y hablamos con el vencendario que ellos supieran que el no me ha pagado meses atraz. Entonces él, tratando de defenderse, llamando la policia, pero como estabamos en nuestros derechos, nos quedamos en el lugar para seguir exigiendo. Entonces al ver que el no pudo hacer nada, y con la verguenza tan grande, el dicidio hablar con nosotros ese dia. Despues no quiso negociar con nosotr@s. Despues regresamos al otro día y como vió que no podía con nosotr@s, decidió negociar. Acceptó que me debía toda la cantidad que estaba cobrando. Acordamos que si él pagaba, no volveriamos a molestar. Entonces le parecio bien y me dió una parte ese dia. El puso otra fecha para el siguiente pago y ya ha cumplido.

*

We started the case by negotiating with the boss. We had him sign a payment plan and he assured us he was going to pay me my wages by the dates he agreed to. He didn’t comply with the terms of the agreement that we had made. After that, we went to his house to look for him and talk to him because he hadn’t complied with the agreement. At his house, he told us that he wasn’t going to pay me and then he told us to get off his property. We didn’t talk to the boss for six months because we had referred the case to two separate attorneys and we thought that they would claim the money. After all that time, the lawyers said that they couldn’t do anything because they couldn’t get money from someone who doesn’t have any money.

I almost gave up my case because I thought there was no way we could get my wages. I wanted to close the case completely. But, with the support of the Worker Defense Committee, I decided to propose to the group that we make one last attempt at claiming the wages, just to see if we couldn’t do something about getting me my wags. We got more information about the boss and then went to look for the boss. We went as a group with picket signs and flyers and talked to all his neighbors to let them know that their neighbor hadn’t paid me six months before. When my ex-boss saw what we were doing, he called the police, but because we knew our rights, we stayed in front of his house, claiming my unpaid wages. Once he saw he couldn’t do anything, and with the shame that we had made him feel, he decided to talk with us, although he refused to negotiate with us. We came back the next day and when he saw that he couldn’t avoid us, he decided to negotiate. He agreed that he owed me all of my wages. We assured him that once he paid me, we wouldn’t bother him again. That sounded good to him so he paid me part of my wages that night. We set another date for the second payment, which he also made good on.

CDT acciones abril 09 031

trabajador p, entrando a la casa del patrón para negociar, despues de la segunda acción que hizo el cdt



Over $18,000 worth of tools reclaimed in Issaquah – 3.20.2009
March 22, 2009, 12:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

En febrero, un mecanico salió del trabajo. Su patrón supo negó de regresar las herramientas del trabajador (que valen más que $19,000). También, negó de dar al trabajador su ultimo cheque. Cuando el trabajador regresó al taller del patrón una semana despues de cuando salió para cobrar el dinero y llevar sus herramientas, el patrón llamó al alguacil y el alguacil le dió un ticket para allanamiento. El trabajador pensó que nunca iba a ver sus herramientas jamas, porque el patrón dijo que iba a llamar a la migra si regresaría.

El trabajador llegó al CDT hace dos semanas, porque quería hacer una estrategía de reclamar sus herramientas, sin usar la policia. Negociamos con el patrón y él aprobó que iba a regresar todas las herramientas y el pago. En los días antes de nuestra visita, el patrón amenazó al trabajador varias veces, a veces usando otros empleados, y dijo que iba a llamar a la migra si el CDT viniera. A pesar de las amenazas, el trabajador quiso seguir con el plan de reclamar lo que le debía.

Despues de una llamada al patrón y una visita a su oficina, donde reiteramos que pasaría si el no regresaría todas las herramientas, el patrón decidió de pagar al trabajador todo lo que le debí y de devolver las herramientas. Despues de una hora de trabajo duro, en la lluvia dura de la primavera, el trabajador salió del lugar con mas que 1000 libras de herramientas y su cheque final.

*

In February, an auto body mechanic quit his job. His boss, knowing that he was losing a good worker, refused to return the worker’s tools (worth over $19,000) to him. He also refused to give the worker his final pay check. When the worker returned to the boss’s house a week after quitting, in an attempt to claim his tools, the boss called the sheriff and had the worker trespassed from his property. The worker thought his tools were lost to him, as the employer refused to talk to him and threatened to call ICE if the worker returned to his property.

The worker came to the Worker Defense Committee two weeks ago, hoping to figure out a way to claim his tools without having to tangle more with cops. We negotiated with the employer and got him to agree to surrender the tools he was holding hostage. In the days leading up to our visit to Issaquah, in a move both unsportsmanlike and illegal, the employer made a number of calls to the worker, threatening that, if the worker or the Worker Defense Committee were to show up at his shop, the boss would call ICE. Despite the employer’s efforts to intimidate the worker, the worker decided to continue with the plan to go to the boss’s house and reclaim what was owed him.

After a call to the boss and a visit to his office, where we let the employer know what he could look forward to if he continued with his refusal to give the worker what he was owed, the boss agreed to pay the worker his final pay check, and to return to the worker his tools. An hour later, in the hard spring rain, the worker drove away with more than 1000 pounds of equipment and his final paycheck.




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