Protesting Good Coffee Mexican Restaurant


Over twenty people protested in front of Good Coffee Mexican Restaurant, located at 1730 Montana Avenue, demanding payment of unpaid overtime compensation for workers of the restaurant.  The Labor Justice Committee and Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) rallied behind a former employee who is attempting to recover thousands of dollars in unpaid wages for several years of work.

In connection with the rally, Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of Teresa Avila, a former employee of the restaurant, demanding thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime pay and damages for retaliatory actions taken by the employer to silence Ms. Avila.  Dominguez & Coyle, PLLC is also representing the Plaintiff.

“I worked for Good Coffee for several years and often worked over forty hours per week.  My employer never paid me my overtime wages and even failed to pay me at all in the last week of my employment,” said Ms. Avila. “When I tried to recover my wages, my employer automatically threatened to sue me for defamation unless I backed down.  But I’m not going to back down.  He owes me these wages and we will recover them.”

Restaurant employees must receive at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.  Overtime pay is time and a half of the promised hourly rate.

“We want all workers to be paid the legal wage.  But we also wholeheartedly denounce the efforts of employers to silence workers who are only trying to recover their just wage,” said Abelardo Lopez, First Representative of the Labor Justice Committee, as he held up a sign that read “We Support Workers’ Rights to Overtime.”

Members of the Labor Justice Committee, Border Network for Human Rights, and Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, after the protest

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

Community Protests Workers Unpaid Wages

El Diario de El Paso | 13-05-2011 | 00:00

Over twenty people held a protest outside “Good Coffee Mexican Restaurant,” located at Montana and Williams in Central El Paso, to protest unpaid overtime wages owed to an employee that worked for the company for three years. Supported by the Labor Justice Committee, Teresa Ávila demanded that the owners pay her unpaid overtime wages for the hours she worked as a cook. 

“I am here to exercise my rights as a worker. I worked for this man for three years. He didn’t pay me time and a half for the overtime hours I worked. I want my stolen salary,” said the ex-employee of the restaurant, while carrying a sign that said, “Work Completed, Work Paid.”

Foto:Juan Torres/El Diario de El Paso, Obreros en protesta

The victim, who is 52 years old and a mother of two children, said that she had attempted to negotiate wages with her ex-employer to reach an agreement, but she only received threats. For this reason, she decided to ask for help in demanding her labor rights.

Shalini Thomas, representative of the Labor Justice Committee, explained that the protest in support of Ávila was organized to pressure the owners to comply with the law. A lawsuit was also filed on behalf of Ms. Ávila by Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project.

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

Good Coffee Owner Denies Labor Abuse

Jaime Torres Valadez
El Diario de El Paso | 13-05-2011 | 23:29

Arnoldo Palacios, owner of the restaurant “Good Coffee Mexican Restaurant”, denied an accusation from one of his ex-workers that he didn’t pay her on time during the two years she worked there.

Palacios said that a case has already been filed against his ex-employee Teresa Ávila for defamation.

Foto:Juan Torres/El Diario de El Paso, Obreros en protesta

“In the 15 years I have operated this business I’ve never had a labor dispute. You can ask my staff and they will answer that there is good treatment, fair wages, and payments on time.”

Ávila protested last Thursday in front of the restaurant, accompanied by a group of about 20 people, to demand the wages that she was owed.

Arnoldo Palacios said that he believes in demonstrating for ideas and thoughts when an injustice happens, but said that in this case, there was no injustice.  He admitted that Ávila was a good worker, but said that he always paid her, so he didn’t know why her attitude had changed.


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