(KTSF by Jessie Liang)
San Francisco, CA – Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and the Progressive Workers Alliance (PWA) announced the over $316,000 settlement of a major wage theft case in San Francisco, which resolved claims for unpaid wages, tips, meals and rest break premiums and penalties. It had been filed by eight immigrant workers from Pho Clement Vietnamese restaurant in the Richmond District.
The community organizations stated the eight restaurant workers from Pho Clement were working 12.5 hours per day for 6 to 7 days a week, earning an hourly wage of approximately $5.20, far below the $10.24 now mandated by San Francisco’s minimum wage law.
The former Pho Clement worker Zhuo Quan Huang says they didn’t know the state’s labor law so they faced great hardship from wage theft and the long hours worked.
Another former Pho Clement worker, Luong Vuong, organized his seven Chinese and Vietnamese coworkers and sought assistance from CPA and ALC. In spite of their fears and language barriers, the workers persevered.
Organizers at CPA and legal advocates at ALC helped the workers file individual claims for amounts not included in the citations issued by the state labor agency. A few months later, ALC and the state agency were able to negotiate a lump sum settlement including the employer’s commitment to follow applicable employment and labor laws in the future.
Shaw San Liu, lead organizer at CPA says, “Workers who are unlawfully treated by their employers should come out and fight for their rights. The community organizations and the state and city agencies are willing to help workers to restore wages that they earned.”
In addition, PWA recently helped one worker from a restaurant in Chinatown win over $53,000 in unpaid overtime and minimum wages. The CPA also stresses that restoring wages to the workers who earned them can be a boom for the local economy as well because 70% of the US economy relies on consumer spending.
Workers who have a complaint about wage theft can go to their local Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) office. For more information, visit www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.
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