No se dejen! Wage Theft is a punishable crime. By law, every hour worked is an hour paid… There are organizations such as El CENTRO where we can get help and support to fight for our rights. – Nirma Armendáriz
Nirma used to work for a daycare center called Hope Head Start & Nursery. She had already been working there for about eight months before she became a victim of wage theft. “I was not paid for my last two months of work –October and November. When I would ask the owner to pay me, she would always come up for excuses saying the State had not paid her so she couldn’t pay our wages.”
She and three other workers whose wages were being stolen decided to organize themselves and to stop working for this establishment. They then decided to file a wage claim though the NM Dept. of Workforce Solutions. “We already have an open case with Workforce Solution and they already have findings in our favor. The Dept. held four different preliminary hearing for this case and the owner of the business never bothered to show up for any of them.”
Later on, the four women learned about El CENTRO’s Workers’ Justice Project, and the type of support that El CENTRO provides to the community in regards to Wage Theft. She also learned that El CENTRO’ has a Workers’ Committee, a group lead by workers whose main focus is to inform other workers about their rights and to provide support. With the help and support from staff and members from El CENTRO de igualdad y Derechos the group of former-employees had a public protest against their former employer.
“Unfortunately many of us find ourselves in this country where we do not know the law. Many times people don’t do anything out of fear of stepping outside of the law… Fortunately here at El CENTRO they have guided us and it looks like we’re on the right path [to fight for our wages].”
Currently Nirma is awaiting for her court hearing where she is optimistic she will get her earned wages paid since the Dept. of Workforce Solutions already has findings in favor of her and the other three ex-employees. “No se dejen! Wage Theft is a punishable crime. By law every hour worked is an hour paid… There are organizations such as El CENTRO where we can get help and support to fight for our rights.”