COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA LOCAL 1103 AND DON BOSCO WORKERS, INC. HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE AND SOLIDARITY WALK
The Communications Workers of America Local 1103 and Don Bosco Workers, Inc., both located in Port Chester NY, held a press conference on September 18 to announce an ambitious campaign entitled, “No Pay – No Way! Wage Theft Is Bad For Port Chester.” The campaign’s goal is to make the Village of Port Chester a “zero tolerance” zone for wage theft. The CWA and DBW have built a broad based coalition of support for the movement and the campaign to end wage theft. Speakers representing the following organizations were on hand to show their support: Congregation Emanuel Westchester, Port Chester Council of Community Services, Empire Justice Center, Port Chester Latino Network, Port Chester Cares and Holy Rosary Church, as well as representatives from the Port Chester business community. Also speaking were Senator George Latimer, an early supporter of Don Bosco Workers, Inc. and longtime ally of CWA Local 1103, and Assemblyman Steve Otis, a champion of workers’ rights.
More than fifty workers, college students, and community advocates participated in a solidary walk down Port Chester’s Main Street and made stops along the route to award the “Good Workplace” seal to businesses. Employers supporting the campaign pledged to follow all applicable wage and hour laws. “We will publicize businesses who are supportive and ask the community to look for the decal and spend their dollars at “Good Workplace” establishments,” said DBW Director, Gonzalo Cruz. Wage theft has reached epidemic levels in New York and across the nation with one study showing that nearly two-thirds (68%) of all low-income workers experience wage violations each week (Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers, 2009). Enforcement of the wage law is plagued by backlogs at the New York Department of Labor (NYDOL). According to a 2014 audit of the NYDOL, there are over 17,000 open cases and 75% of them have been open for more than one year.
Ann Heekin, President of DBW, Inc., described, “No Pay – No Pay!” as an effort to redefine wage theft as a whole community problem. “Historically, wage theft has been seen as an immigrant problem rather than a community one. The reality is that wage theft reduces spending in the local economy, makes responsible businesses less competitive to ones who do not follow the rules, and places unnecessary strain on emergency social services that cost taxpayers,” she said. “This campaign is on the cutting edge of Community Organizing, where Labor, Capital, Faith, and Community are all on the same page working together,” said Kevin Shiel, President of CWA 1103. He added, “Partnering on worker justice issues with the Don Bosco Workers, Inc. is a natural fit for our Union and it is the right thing to do. Our economy and the worker population face enormous challenges and we must respond to these needs and help the next wave of workers in the same manner that those before us help this generation.”
This campaign is on the cutting edge of Community Organizing, where Labor, Capital, Faith, and Community are all on the same page working together for worker justice.” — Kevin Shiel, President of CWA 1103.
Press coverage on the event:
Photos: JoAnn Cancro Photography