Restaurant Employees Demand Unpaid Wages

North Liberty, Iowa: A coalition of community members took action on Thursday, September 12 in support of two North Liberty workers who are victims of “wage theft” – when workers aren’t paid the wages they are legally owed.

Wenceslao Mendez and Norma Diaz quit working at BeerBurger in North Liberty after their payroll checks bounced. In July of 2019, Wenceslao received a payroll check which was returned due to Non-Sufficient Funds. His wife, Norma, had the same experience in August of 2019.

The couple turned to the Center for Worker Justice (CWJ) for assistance. CWJ sent a letter to the management of BeerBurger on the couple’s behalf, demanding payment of wages, plus reimbursement for bank fees. BeerBurger issued two more checks, which also bounced. The couple is still waiting on these wages.

“Workers depend on their pay to provide for themselves and their families. A missed paycheck can mean unpaid bills, missed meals, and the loss of cars and homes. This is completely unacceptable in our community,” says CWJ Community Organizer Mazahir Salih.

With support from the Center for Worker Justice, Norma and Wenceslao are standing up to demand their unpaid wages.

Check the online article here: https://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/2019/09/12/after-checks-bounced-beerburger-pays-workers-withheld-wages-cash/2301886001/

It’s not about charity – it’s about justice

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been working hard to make sure that local businesses continue to honor a minimum wage that our community can actually live off of. With the passage of HSB92, local businesses no longer have a legal obligation to continue to pay $10.10, but as Rev. Rudolph T. Juárez points out in his recent op-ed, it’s not enough for us to preform simple acts of charity, but to go after the root causes of suffering and injustice in our community – in other words, fighting for a better minimum wage.

“The foot of charity is well-received in society because it generates a “feel good — one with humanity” kind of sentiment in us. It is socially acceptable because it is practiced by saints, religious organizations, civic groups and well-intentioned individuals. The hallmarks of charity are food pantries, bus-tickets, homeless shelters, and handouts that satisfy the immediate needs of people.

The foot of justice, on the other hand, is not always so well accepted, and its effects not so immediate or obvious. Justice addresses the root causes of hunger, homelessness and poverty. It can be controversial, because it is practiced by organizers, activists and prophets. The hallmarks of justice are community organizing, advocacy and political involvement. Justice looks for long-term results…..

….By law, employers can revert to paying the old minimum wage. But legal and moral are not necessarily synonymous. No, there are moral implications as to how we treat workers, how we invest in our community and how we promote the common good. These are the questions employers should be asking themselves and these are the questions consumers need to be asking before frequenting certain businesses. And more to the point, in the downward spiral of wages, who is it that has to bear the brunt of the kind of regressive legislation we are seeing in 2017?”

Read the full article at The Gazette

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Stop the Legislature’s Assault on Iowa Workers!

On February 7, Republican lawmakers in Des Moines filed bills that constitute an all-out attack on workers in every city, county, and school district in our state. CWJ President Mazahir Salih and Vice-President Irund A-wan joined hundreds of union and community members at the capitol yesterday to speak out against these attacks.

House Study Bill 92 would take away the minimum wage increase our members fought so hard to pass, and throw tens of thousands of Iowa workers back to the poverty minimum of $7.25. It would ban local governments from passing any laws or resolutions that provide higher standards than state or federal law on any issue related to workers’ rights, as well as certain consumer environmental protections.
House Study Bill 84/ Senate File 213 is an extreme proposal that strips away over 100 years of basic civil service and union rights of public service workers – such as teachers, firefighters, secretaries, and snowplow drivers. It removes civil service protections established in the early 1900s to prevent nepotism and corruption, allows workers to be fired for any reason and without cause, makes it illegal for public workers to negotiate with their employer over any working conditions except raises, and contains provisions to dismantle public workers’ unions.
This is devastating to our state, our workers, and our public services. Please join us in calling our state legislators today to reject these attacks on the people of Iowa!
Connect to your state Senator by calling 1- 844-332-8460.
Connect to your state Representative by calling 1- 855-790-8815.