The following was submitted by Rand Wilson:
Over 150 residents of Somerville have signed petitions to the Board of Aldermen requesting a hearing on the extent and severity of the problem of Wage Theft in Somerville and the merits of passing an ordinance to prevent wage theft.
Somerville allows citizens to compel the Board of Aldermen to hold a hearing if 50 or more residents sign a petition calling for it.
Our concern arises out of the case of a group of seven employees who worked at One World Cuisine restaurants. With support from Centro Presente and Greater Boston Legal Services, last year the workers filed suit in federal court for $183,500 in unpaid wages, minimum wage, and overtime violations. $20,500 of this claim is for work done at Diva Indian Bistro in Davis Square.
"Violations of labor rights are a systemic problem affecting all workers in this country," said Patricia Montes, Centro Presente's executive director. "Immigrant workers are even more vulnerable to this exploitation. The enormous movement of immigrants to the US is the result of a global economic system that exploits the rights of workers in their own countries."
Other cities around the country have passed local ordinances aimed at preventing wage theft in their communities. We are hoping to follow their example and make Somerville a fairer place to work and do business.
Supporters will gather at the Somerville City Hall on Tuesday, April 9 at 12 p.m. to turn in the signed petitions and kick off a campaign to stop wage theft in Somerville.