Casa Latina advances the power and well-being of Latino immigrants through employment, education, and community organizing.

Wage Theft Noir: How Casa Latina Deals with Real Life Crime and Drama

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 4:16pm

Movie theaters provide Seattle with the best of crime, drama, intrigue, and detective work on film, but what happens when this type of action takes place in real life at a cinema near you?

Jorge cleaned a movie theater for two and a half years, but the janitorial company that hired him failed to pay his overtime. When payday came around, the boss ignored Jorge, and came to owe him $15,000 in unpaid wages. 

Jorge knew that he was being cheated but he was so afraid of losing his job that he continued working. In February 2015, he finally decided he'd had enough. He told the movie theater what was happening, and luckily it did the right thing and cut ties with the janitorial contractor. Unfortunately, that left Jorge without a job AND without the thousands of dollars that he was owed.

Jorge then came to Casa Latina for help. Through our Workers' Defense Committee, we were able to get the owner of the janitorial company to sign a contract in which she commits to paying Jorge the $15,000 he's owed. We've already received several of the $1,000 checks Jorge will receive over the coming months. 

It's stories like these that makes us so excited to announce that Casa Latina recently received a $200,000 grant from Seattle's new Office of Labor Standards to continue and expand our labor rights counseling and advocacy work. In the last 15 years, we've recovered over $500,000 in unpaid wages for over 200 workers.

Now, we'll be expanding our current program in Seattle and we'll be opening a satellite Workers' Defense Committee at The South Park Neighborhood Center. These improvements will TRIPLE our capacity to handle wage theft cases which means that when there's crime, drama, intrigue, and detective work in real life, Casa Latina will be there to help.

You can help us connect with and assist hundreds of workers who have experienced wage theft by donating here.