Unity Statement: Youth and Students Against Wage Theft

We are asking your organization to sign on to this unity statement (below) by youth and students in support of Filipino workers fighting against wage theft. In particular, we are supporting the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS) in an action they are holding this Saturday to demand that over $80,000 in stolen wages be paid out by a care home to a mother and her son who worked there.

For more information about the action: tinyurl.com/PAWISaction
For more information about PAWIS: pawissv.wordpress.com/

    Youth and Students Stand with Workers Fighting Wage Theft

    As youth and students, we stand in solidarity with workers fighting the exploitative and unjust crime of wage theft. This Saturday, in San Jose, the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS), a grassroots organization fighting for the rights and welfare of Filipino workers, is working to fight this exploitation at a local care home, where an employer owes $83,846 to a worker and his mother. This wage theft judgment was issued last year, and the care home has yet to pay the full amount. Wage theft is a crime in which an employer withholds wages from its workers through unfair practices such as refusing to pay for overtime hours, denial of meal breaks, and failure to pay minimum wage. It is an issue that affects countless workers and pervades a vast number of businesses, companies, and organizations worldwide. We support the actions of PAWIS and all labor organizers who are taking a stand for the just payment and treatment of workers. We call upon the Filipino community to unite in the fight against wage theft. The Filipino community has historically come together to fight for the rights of our people. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, in which Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and other Filipino labor leaders protested unjust working conditions. Their tireless efforts within and alongside the United Farm Workers, a union founded with fellow Chicano agricultural workers, helped advance the workers’ struggle and further inspire the labor movement in the U.S. Today, the struggle for workers’ rights continues, especially for domestic workers and caregivers fighting wage theft. In the face of widespread wage theft throughout our community, Filipinos have shown their unwavering support for one another. Just this February, courts ruled that Priscilla Soriano, a member of PAWIS, be paid $64,000 in unpaid wages from her employer. Three years ago, Nelly Gonzalez, also with PAWIS, settled her case for $100,000. This Saturday, we will come together once again to fight for the almost $84,000 owed to a mother and son who have worked tirelessly in the U.S. Wage theft is not just a crime against workers, it is a crime against their families. Many caregivers are immigrants who continue to remit money to relatives in the Philippines while still supporting their families in the U.S. As youth and students, we recognize how hard our families work to raise us and pay for our education. We know how hard it is to see doors close on us because of financial concerns, to not even think of applying for college because money is tight. These hardships are even worse for youth--our siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews--in the Philippines, where poverty and corruption prevent them from meeting even their most basic needs. When fighting for workers, we know that we are also fighting for our own futures as well. As youth and students we have seen our own families struggle to make a home here in the U.S. We demand that they be treated justly and be paid for the work they do. We call on the Filipino community to continue the tradition of fighting for our community’s rights. This Saturday, join PAWIS to support the fight against wage theft, as we use our voices and our feet to say, "not a single penny more." Workers are the backbone of our economy and leaders in the fight for a just society. As we stand on their shoulders let us not forget to stand with them as well. Organizations: Akbayan San Jose State University Anakbayan Silicon Valley League of Filipino Students - San Francisco State University
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