PACE LAW STUDENTS AND DON BOSCO WORKERS, INC. RELEASE NEW STUDY ON WAGE THEFT REFORM FOR LOW-INCOME WORKERS
A partnership between Don Bosco Workers, Inc. of Port Chester, NY and the Neighborhood Justice Clinic at Pace Law School, White Plains, NY, released new research on the wage theft problem in New York State. The three-month study led by Pace law interns, Amanda Ibrahim, Seham Elmalak, and Luis Felix, under the direction of Pace Law Professor Jason Parkin, focused on a 2011 amendment to Illinois wage law to create a forum for cases of $3,000 or less at the Illinois Department of Labor. The findings conclude that the Illinois small claims forum is a promising model for New York State Department of Labor where the claims process is plagued by significant delays. Low-Income workers are more likely to file claims with the NYSDOL and therefore more vulnerable to the backlog. Don Bosco Workers, Inc. has collaborated with Senator George Latimer (D-NY) to write draft legislation to establish a small claims forum at the NYSDOL. DBW will use the findings of the Pace study to organize “Wage Theft Westchester,” a coalition of Westchester immigrant worker groups committed to wage theft reform. “We want to build awareness among our neighbors that the problem of wage theft is not restricted to New York City, it is also rampant in Westchester County. Improved enforcement of small claims at the NYSDOL is a promising anti-wage theft initiative,” said DBW project director, Gonzalo Cruz.