“I was in a bind at the time that I experienced wage theft, and this money will help my family – particularly my five kids – with bills, clothes and other necessities. I’m thankful and glad that Towards Justice listened to me and actually cared about the outcome of my case. It feels good to open the doors for other workers as well; now they can see that it all wasn’t for nothing.” -Miguel Heredia
In early 2015, Marcelino contacted Towards Justice per the recommendation of El Centro Humanitario para Los Trabajadores. Marcelino was working as an interior painter and his employer paid him by check, which bounced when Marcelino deposited it. Marcelino was depending on his earned income and had to shift his finances and bill payments around to accommodate this unexpected void. Towards Justice represented Marcelino and was able to recover $213.74. He said “I am grateful for the services that I received from Towards Justice. I entrusted Towards Justice to carry out the services that they offered and I am happy to have recuperated the money that was owed to me for my work.”
Eduardo was hired to complete an exterior stucco job. He warned his employer that the job would not pass city inspection without a certain material. His employer ignored the requests for the additional material and when the job did not pass inspection the employer refused to pay Eduardo. Eduardo offered to re-do the job with the required material and paid for the materials himself. In the end, his employer owed him $500 for the initial work and $1000 for the new materials and redo. Eduardo said "When I realized that I had been a victim of wage theft I felt a little disgusted with the employer. I tried to speak with him about my unpaid wages and nothing happened. It affected me greatly thinking about how much time I spent working on this construction project. Because of these unpaid wages I had overdraft fees in my bank account because I did not expect to not be paid by my employer. I was going on as normal as though I would be paid for my work. It affected my wife and kids because we couldn’t afford to pay some utilities like internet and power.” Eduardo was directed to Towards Justice by El Centro Humanitario. Towards Justice helped Eduardo recuperate $1000 in earned wages.
Amin & Israel
Are both fathers of three and were hired as part of a team to complete an exterior paint job at a large apartment complex. Their employer refused to pay them for their work and our partner, El Comite de Longmont recommended that Amin and Israel reach out to Towards Justice. Amin said he was “counting on his earned wages to pay for his electricity and gas bill”. Towards Justice represented both men and recuperated $400.18 in earned wages.
German was hired to paint a new urgent care facility in Westminster and worked 112 hours for which he was never paid. When German approached his employer about not being paid, his employer insisted that his wages were directly deposited into his account, but German had never given his employer any account information. When German became a victim of wage theft he said “it affected me greatly because I work hard and I drive many miles per day to perform work. I was spending money in order to drive and arrive to work each day, which was basically my investing my own money in order to work. After I performed weeks of labor and was not paid for it I had to figure out what I was going to do to pay my expenses. I lost all of that money driving to these jobs for this employer and didn’t have much money left to pay my weekly expenses. I had to reach out to some nearby friends and my sister in order to pay a few expenses off and to mostly purchase more gas to continue working in other jobs.” German learned about Towards Justice on the radio and reached out for assistance. Towards Justice recuperated $918.05 for German.
Shepherds Allege that an Antitrust Conspiracy
Has Kept Them Below the Poverty Line
Two former shepherds filed a class action lawsuit alleging that ranchers across the Western United States colluded to depress shepherd wages, illegally deducted expenses from their meager paychecks, and misled state and federal governments in a pattern of racketeering activity. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the complaint describes an industry that has manipulated temporary worker visas to push American workers out of the business and replace them with foreign workers who are less likely to complain about egregious working conditions. The Complaint alleges that most shepherds earn between $2 and $3 per hour and seventy percent reported never having access to a functioning toilet. “The amount they paid us never seemed right,” said Plaintiff Esliper Huaman, a former shepherd. “Many fellow shepherds are still suffering under these low wages, and I hope that I can help benefit them through this complaint. They should not be exploited for their lack of knowledge of the law and their employers should not be able to take advantage of them.”
Immigrant Workers Recover $305K in Colorado Wage Theft Settlement
Judge Robert Blackburn in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado approved a settlement agreement recovering $305,000 in back wages and penalties for vulnerable immigrant workers. With Towards Justice as counsel, named plaintiff Walter Mancia sought the wages that were wrongfully withheld from him and from a class of 40 to 50 fellow grocery store workers. His employer acknowledged its mistake and agreed to pay $305,000 in back wages and penalties. “I had never experienced wage theft before this and didn't know what to do until I met with Towards Justice,” said Mr. Mancia. “I feel proud and happy that I could be a good leader for the other people who have lived this. I feel it was a blessing from God that we could find help.”