Protesting Wage Theft

(Article in English further down)

Villalobos Protest (Photo courtesy of Douglas Yarrow)

Villalobos Protest (Photo courtesy of Douglas Yarrow)

El pasado 15 de Febrero hicimos una protesta pacífica en frente de la casa del Señor Fabian Villalobos dueño de la compañía FBI Painting. Hubo un número de 25 personas entre ellos: organizaciones comunitarias, sindicatos, comunidades de fe y jornaleros. La protesta comenzó a las 7 de la mañana; primeramente fuimos a la casa a tocar en lo cual no nos habrió la puerta, le hicimos una llamada por teléfono que si contesto, pero no estaba contento por lo que estábamos haciendo.

A cada trabajador les debe diferentes números de horas y diferentes fechas por lo que hace un total de $15,846 dólares en salarios que no les ha pagado. Francisco uno de los que trabajo para él dice “Trabaje un día 24 horas, desde las 7 de la mañana hasta las 7 de la mañana del día siguente y no es justo que no nos pague”.
El objetivo de esta protesta es presionar para que pague a los 11 trabajadores que trabajaron para el pintando casas en distintas partes de la ciudad de Portland. Otro de los objetivos es denunciar públicamente para que pare inmediatamente este tipo de abusos contra nuestra comunidad.

El robo de salarios ha sido una epidemia dentro de la comunidad Jornalera y que pasa frecuentemente. Desde que la organización empezó hemos recuperado más de 300,000 dólares de salarios a trabajadores que al principio se negaban pagarles. Aproximadamente recibimos 40 casos por año pero hay un número de casos que no son reportados por temor a ser deportados.

VOZ ha hecho talleres en el centro y en las calles para que conozcan sus derechos básicos como trabajadores y como documentar información sobre los patrones que quieren abusar de ellos.

Haz click para ver el slide show de esta protesta, complementos de Douglas Yarrow.

Haz clic aquí para la cobertura de Univision Portland de la protesta.

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On February 15 we made a peaceful protest in front of the house of Fabian Villalobos, the owner of the company FBI Painting. Amongst the 25 people in protest were various members of community organizations, unions, faith communities, and laborers. The protest began at 7:00 in the morning. First, we went to the house and rang the doorbell, but nobody opened the door to us. Then we made a telephone call to see if Mr. Villalobos would answer—he did, but he was not happy with what we were doing.

Each worker had a different number of hours worked on a variety of different dates, resulting in a total of $15,846 in unpaid wages. Francisco, one of the laborers whom Mr. Villalobos had not paid for work, said, “I worked one day for 24 hours, from 7:00 in the morning until 7:00 the following morning, and it is not fair that he did not pay us.”

The goal of this protest was to pressure Mr. Villalobos to pay the 11 laborers who worked painting houses throughout the city of Portland. Another goal was to publicly denounce and to immediately stop these types of abuses against our community from happening.

Wage theft has been an epidemic within the community of migrant workers that unfortunately happens frequently. Since this organization began, we have recovered more than $300,000 in wages for laborers whom at first were denied pay. We receive approximately 40 wage-related cases per year, but there are a great number of cases that go unreported for the laborers’ fear of deportation.

VOZ has conducted workshops at the center and in the streets to educate laborers of their basic rights as workers, and on how to document information concerning situations when they feel their rights are being abused by employers.

Click to view a slide show of the protest, complements of Douglas Yarrow.

Click here for Univision Portland coverage of the protest.