Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Workers just want to get paid

Supporters of Emeryville living wage payments owed to Woodfin hotel workers troop into City Hall.

Emeryville residents, who passed a living wage ordinance by initiative in 2005, won a victory last niight when their legislators ordered the hotel to pay up.

After a tense, rowdy hearing the Emeryville City Council ordered the Woodfin Hotel to pay workers $350,000 dollars in back wages and penalties.

Fifty-six workers went after the Woodfin Hotel after an Emeryville city law which guarantees a livable wage for hospitality workers.

In last night's meeting the attorney for Woodfin might have felt he wasn't getting much hospitality - he was tossed from that meeting by the mayor. Later he returned only to hear the council say that hotel owes workers $300,000 dollars in back wages plus a $50,000 dollar fine. The City Manager ordered $250,000 dollars in back pay back in June, Woodfin wouldn't pay that and the hotel said it won't pay this fine, it said it will appeal. Source.

Unidentified persons inside the city administration building watched a worker rally anxiously.

The Emeryville situation highlights the difficulty immigrant workers have collecting even payments to which they are legally entitled. The hotel responded to worker activism by instigating the Social Security Administration to check their Social Security numbers, then firing activists for whom the Feds returned "no match" letters.

The Bush administration has responded to Congress' failure to pass its "immigration reform" package by moving to make employers to fire all workers who cannot provide proof of valid Social Security numbers. That is, by punishing workers, it hopes to force its business base to provide the muscle to get an immigration law passed over the wishes of its large, vocal, racist constituency. Labor journalist David Bacon has explained the "no match" ploy clearly in this article.

Luz Dominguez speaks out for the Woodfin workers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A victory - thanks for telling us about it, jan. Human rights' violation - that is what we've been trying to get everyone else to understand; perhaps incidents like this will help the union-minded understand alittle better the fight that we are waging for working people who find themselves sucked into the vortex of the immigration system.