Since the first annual Wage Theft Awards, we have been in contact with Raymond Brito, Assistant District Director of the El Paso Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, to see how the Committee and the Department of Labor can collaborate to ensure more successful recovery of unpaid wages in El Paso.
Two weeks ago, the Executive Committee and other LJC members, along with Alyssa Telander and Chris Benoit from Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, met with Mr. Brito at Sacred Heart Church. Basing our requests off of what worker centers in other cities have done, we came up with an outline for a partnership agreement, all of which Mr. Brito tentatively agreed to. Under this agreement, representatives from the Department of Labor will come to Committee meetings once a month to do intakes, will share case-specific information with the aggrieved worker-member and the Committee promotor “in charge” of the case, and will offer trainings to the Committee, among other points of collaboration. Once we finalize the agreement, we’ll be sure to post it on this space.
As secretary Lidia Cruz said during the meeting, “the Department of Labor is charged with recovering unpaid wages. However, we believe many community members don’t know the DoL exists, or are too scared to enter the federal building and talk to a government agency. Through this collaboration, we hope to diminish fear by accompanying workers through the DoL process, and take a big step toward lowering wage theft in El Paso.”