DON BOSCO WORKERS PARTNERS WITH NEIGHBORHOOD JUSTICE CLINIC
PROJECT TO RESEARCH LEGISLATIVE REFORM TO NY WAGE THEFT LAW
Don Bosco Workers, Inc. of Port Chester, NY, has announced a new partnership with the Neighborhood Justice Clinic at Pace University School of Law, White Plains, NY, effective January 2014. Don Bosco Workers (DBW) is a grassroots community-organizing group that advocates for justice for low-income workers through jobs placement, fair and legal wages, and workplace safety trainings for more than 150 men and women. The Neighborhood Justice Clinic is a new clinical program at Pace Law School led by Executive Director, Professor Jason Parkin. The clinic represents individuals and organizations in both litigation and non-litigation matters related to workers’ rights and other issues affecting low-income communities in Westchester County. The Don Bosco Workers – Neighborhood Justice Clinic Partnership will focus on research to figure out how to strengthen state wage protection laws and enforcement in New York State. New York is considered to have one of the strongest wage payment laws especially since the Wage Theft Prevention Act was passed in 2011. The Act significantly increases penalties for New York labor law violations but barriers to wage recovery persist. “We need to find a way to improve our chances of recovery of stolen wages more quickly,” said Gonzalo Cruz, DBW Project Director. Many state wage theft enforcement procedures were designed for traditional employment and are less effective in nontraditional workplace settings such as day and temporary labor and subcontracting arrangements. Research findings from law student interns at the Neighborhood Justice Clinic will help inform Don Bosco Workers on possible strategies for legislative change to New York State labor law. “Once we have some firm ideas about legislation to close some of the loopholes in the present NY wage law we will seek to build a coalition in support of wage reform among worker organizations, civic groups, unions and legislators,” said Ann Heekin, DBW board president. “Wage theft not only fails the low-income worker, it fails our economy,” said Heekin.