New Site!

September 27, 2012

We’re moving!  Please join us at our new website: www.laborjusticecommittee.org


Spring 2012 Labor Rights and Leadership Training

May 4, 2012
en español

As if the Susaki news weren’t enough, we recently held our Bi-annual Labor Rights and Leadership Training.  This training, given by Committee members themselves, gives newer members the knowledge and hopefully confidence they need to be “promotores”.  In the model we use, promotores are the ones who call employers, plan vigils, talk to the press, and create effective case strategies that continue escalating the pressure against employers until they pay the wages they owe.

The training, which lasted all day, ended with a interactive role-playing game in which the newly trained promotores acted out a case from beginning (intake interview with a new worker) to middle (creating a case strategy, going to the police, talking to the press, preparing and carrying out a protest) to end (winning unpaid wages!)

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Before we left for the day, we had a fantastic discussion regarding what we can do to ensure the Committee continues to grow and move forward in the most effective way possible.  We have already started implementing these changes and we’re excited to see where our new (and old) promotores take us!


Demanding Justice for Susaki Workers

May 4, 2012
en español

As we mentioned both here and on our Facebook page, we recently took action against Susaki Lounge for their alleged pattern of unpaid wages.  As we hope is clear, the Labor Justice Committee is committed to fighting for worker justice in the El Paso area.  As I’m sure you all have seen, Susaki Lounge owes money to at least two members of the Labor Justice Committee.  We have seen very strong evidence that makes us believe he owes many Susaki workers and former workers.  If this is true, we believe this pattern of wage theft, along with other issues, is worthy of police attention.  We have already submitted one member’s case to the police for criminal prosecution.  But we need help. We need more Susaki workers to come forward.  The only way we can make sure Susaki owner Jose Fernandez faces justice is if workers are willing to talk.  Without your voices, without your stories, Susaki Lounge can continue stealing money from workers.  If you are owed money by Susaki Lounge, please contact us at 915-209-2551 or via email at shalini@justicialaboral.org.

(For the original article in Spanish,  click here.)

Protesting a Japanese Restaurant for Labor Abuse

Francisco Alarcon
El Diario de El Paso | 27-04-2012 | 00:21

Approximately 20 people met yesterday close to Japanese restaurant Susaki Lounge, on the east side, to protest the business’ alleged “appalling and criminal” practices against their workers, specifically lack of wages.

At the protest, Maya Sanchez, Susaki ex-manager, said she would submit a police report asking for her unpaid wages.  Around her, members of the Labor Justice Committee stood near Lee Trevino Street and showed their support for Maya with signs asking for a boycott against the Japanese restaurant.

“When I was there, I saw almost all the servers and bartenders get paid less than promised, every single week.  The owner, “Joe,” always said he was short on cash and that he would pay them later,” she said.  “He has been getting away with this for too long and I know if I sued him or just protested, he would ignore me.  That’s why I’m going to the police.  They are the only ones who I think he’ll listen to,” she added.

Regarding this, a representative of the Labor Justice Committee said that as of September, the police have said that they will be accepting wage theft cases for criminal prosecution.  “We believe this is a strong criminal case.  By failing to pay his workers, we believe he’s showing a clear intent to violate the law,” said Lidia Cruz.

In fact, according to research done by the committee, this case is not the first of its kind for the business owner, as, they say, there are multiple judgments against him for unpaid debts.

Sanchez said that she faced indifference when she asked for the wages she was owed.  “He didn’t pay attention to me when I went in to ask for my wages, but hopefully this publicity will pressure him to pay me and change the way he runs his business,” she said.

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Protesting Susaki Lounge

April 24, 2012
en español

Please join our efforts as we protest Susaki Lounge, a major eastside restaurant/bar that has an extensive history of violations of workers’ rights. The employer has repeatedly written workers hot checks, made illegal wage deductions, and neglected payment of other wages. Based on this pattern, with the Labor Justice Committee’s support, several workers will be filing police reports against the restaurant owners for criminal theft of service. We are asking that all of our friends and allies be present at this event, as we make a stand against wage theft in the restaurant industry.

If you would like to join our efforts, please meet us at Susaki Lounge, 1506 Lee Trevino, at 5:30 pm.  If you need a ride, you can meet us at Sacred Heart Church’s Pastoral Center (602 S. Oregon St.) at 5:00 pm this Thursday (April 26). We will be leaving the church shortly after 5:00 pm to head to the protest location so that we can be out front during one of their busiest times. If you are planning to join us and have access to a car, please bring it as transportation help is always needed!

For more information, please call Shalini Thomas at 319-321-1857.


More Protests!

March 28, 2012
en español

We have a busy week this week!

We’re holding vigils in support of three  Labor Justice Committee members who are trying to recover their unpaid wages from two different employers.  As always, friends and allies are always welcome to join our efforts!

The first vigil will be this Friday, March 30th.  We’ll be meeting at Sacred Heart Church’s Pastoral Center (602 S. Oregon) at 5 pm to head to the protest.

The second vigil will be this Sunday, April 2nd.  Again, we’ll be meeting at Sacred Heart Church’s Pastoral Center (602 S. Oregon) this time at 8 am.

As always, if you are planning to join us and have access to a car, please bring it as we need all the transportation help we can get!

For more information, or if you get to the church late but would still like to join us, please contact Shalini Thomas at 319-321-1857.


Protest for Worker Justice!

February 10, 2012

Please join our efforts as we attempt to recover unpaid wages for four Labor Justice Committee members/ former Bridges Bistro workers. We are asking all of our friends and allies to attend this protest, as we show an El Paso employer that we will not just watch as wages are stolen.

The last time the Committee tried to speak with him, he told us to get the F*** off of his property. We will be holding a vigil against him to show him that he cannot treat his workers this way and, with your presence, that the El Paso community strongly condemns his actions. If you would like to join our efforts, please be at Sacred Heart Church’s Pastoral Center (602 S. Oregon) at 8:00 am this Sunday (2/12). We will be leaving the church shortly after 8:00 am to head to the protest location. If you are planning to join us and have access to a car, please bring it as we need all the transportation help we can get!

For more information, or if you get to the church late but would still like to join us, please contact Shalini Thomas at 319-321-1857.

If you wish to meet us at the protest, the protest will be held at 133 Graphite, El Paso, TX 79932 at 9:00 am.  Hope to see you there!


Convenio Estatal de Trabajadores

February 6, 2012

Last weekend we had an amazing experience in Austin with Workers Defense Project and Interfaith Worker Justice!  Committee members Lidia Cruz and Shalini Thomas, along with Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project (PCRP) Economic Justice Advocate Tom Power spent the day in Austin for the first (hopefully annual!) meeting of Texas worker centers.  We got to hear from the other worker centers regarding their leadership development courses, the strategies they use to fight for worker justice in their own towns, and some of their recent victories.  We also had a great discussion that will help us all plan how we want to focus our energies and campaigns in the coming months.

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A HUGE thank you to Emily Timm and the rest of the PDL staff for a great day!

In other news, we have a new Mesa Directiva (Executive Committee).  As you may know, the Committee holds elections every 6 months to determine who will be our First and Second Representatives, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The Committee thought that the last Mesa Directiva was doing such a fantastic job that we voted almost unanimously to re-elect the current members.  Unfortunately, our Secretary, Rosa Chavez, had to decline the honor, so the Committee elected Omar Uribe to the position of Secretary.  Congratulations Omar and the rest of the Mesa Directiva!

From left to right, Treasurer Gerardo Hernandez, Secretary Omar Uribe, Second Representative Josefina Torres, and First Representative Lidia Cruz

Finally, we just wanted to throw up the rest of the press we generated surrounding the recent announcement that Wage Theft will now be prosecuted criminally.
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