The SWEAT Coalition as close to 70 member organizations, and we’re growing every day. Why are some many coming forward to join the call to end wage theft? Read some of the memos of support shared by our member organizations.
In a case that LatinoJustice PRLDEF and AALDEF won against the restaurant chain Kum Gang San, we secured a judgment in favor of Korean and Latino workers for $2.67 million, yet have been unable to collect as a result of defendants’ transfer of assets to avoid paying workers what they are owed. 2 The SWEAT bill, which was introduced by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, will expand existing mechanisms in New York law to better help workers collect the wages they are owed. Many low-wage workers, including Latino workers throughout the state, continue to be exploited by scrupulous employers who avoid paying lawful wages or damages once found liable for wage and hour violations. –– Latino Justice PRLDEF & AALDEF
Workers Rights Project, Cuny School of Law––In one of our current cases, we represent a group of four carwash workers who are owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and overtime. The case has been pending before the Eastern District of New York for three years, during which time the employer has been able to dissipate his assets. We are very confident of a judgment in favor of the workers, but fear that our clients’ quest for justice will be fruitless, since the employer will have successfully hidden his assets.
In another case, we represent a group of approximately twenty Nepali gas station workers whose employer knowingly took advantage of the workers’ vulnerable economic situations and cheated them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Although the workers wanted to send money back to their families following the devastating earthquake in Nepal, they were unable because of the deep poverty that they themselves were illegally forced to endure. Given the reprehensible track record of their employer—a serial violator of labor laws—these workers fear that the legal system will fail them, even though they will almost certainly achieve a paper victory in court. The workers rightly want the wages that they earned and are legally entitled to, but are growing more and more frustrated with a legal system that fails to penalize their unscrupulous employer. –– Workers Rights Project, CUNY School of Law
In one lawsuit brought by WJCNY on behalf of 106 food processing employees, the workers were unable to collect the final $100,000 of the $250,000 settlement after the defendant ceased paying according to the settlement agreement. After the plaintiffs successfully obtained a judgment for the remaining wages owed, the defendant owner closed the defendant corporation and upon the sale of the company’s remaining assets, transferred all its proceeds to another corporate entity held by a relative of the owner of the defendant corporation, which was not named in the original lawsuit. If the reforms proposed by bill no. A5501 had already been in place, the 106 employees may have been able to claim all the wages due to them by successfully attaching and preventing the sale of defendants’ assets. –– Workers Justice Center on NY