Workers battle wage theft and win
Nearly two dozen workers who were owed tens of thousands of dollars finally got their wages after they quit, organized and fought back. Last fall, the workers were hired byGenesis, a local sub-contractor, to help build three large high rises in Northeast DC. While work proceeded on the mixed-use development, wages became a problem, as workers received partial payments or had paychecks bounce and eventually Genesis stopped paying wages entirely. One of the workers, David Rodriguez, soon discovered he was not alone: over 20 workers had not been paid. In frustration, they all quit and after Genesis stonewalled their demands for payment, they went to the general contractor, Manganaro Midatlantic, which refused to accept responsibility for the stolen wages. Turning to Trabajadores Unidos de Washington DC (TUWDC), the local advocacy group used DC’s Wage Theft Prevention Act, a 2014 law holding both contractors and subcontractors liable. According to Arturo Griffiths, Executive Director of TUWDC, twenty-three Genesis workers were owed more than $46,000 in back pay. Finally, after months of meetings, promises, and paperwork, Manganaro finally paid the workers on December 8th, two months after they first complained about not being paid. “This case is an important lesson for all DC workers,” says Griffiths, “showing how important it is for contractors and workers to understand the new law.”
- edited by Mayra Alaniz; photo: workers with their back pay; courtesy Arturo Griffiths
Comments are closed.