Big day at DC Council for Wage Theft and Ban the Box bills!

Tuesday was an eventful day at the DC Council!  After years of grassroots organizing, the “Ban the Box” and “Wage Theft” bills were voted on by the DC Council for their first time. The Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2014 aims to put in place stronger policies to deter unscrupulous employers from cheating their employees out of their wages.  As it currently stands, there are few effective ways for workers to recover wages they are owed and little protection for employees that speak out against their bosses wage theft practices.  This system makes it easy for employers to get away with stealing from their workers and creates a disadvantage for businesses that follow the law properly.  DC JwJ and the Wage Theft Coalition have been advocating for the current bill, championed by by Councilmember Vincent Orange, which proposes to change that by putting in place penalties and fines from employers that commit wage theft and creating a better process for workers to recover their money. DC residents, workers, and advocates gathered outside the DC Council at 9:30am for a rally highlight the issues of wage theft and employment discrimination against returning citizens. Before the initial vote on the Ban the Box and Wage Theft Prevention bills, a clear message was sent to councilmembers: “Stand with Workers! Apoye los trabajadores!.” Allies and supporters from the Wage Theft Coalition and Ban the Box advocates filled the council hearing room to highlight the importance of these bills.  Despite strong support from councilmembers, the DC Chamber of Commerce and other business interests groups had been lobbying behind the scenes for amendments they hoped could water down the strength of...

UNITE HERE Local 23 and allies picket in support of Culinary Workers

On Thursday, DC Jobs with Justice joined UNITE HERE! Local 23 and other coalition members for a lunch time picket in support of cafeteria workers.  These cafeteria workers, employed by Seasons Culinary at the National Education Association building, are currently facing a wage freeze over the next three years.  Food service workers in DC have fought to win a standard that includes fair raises AND health insurance.  We’re not going to let these cafeteria workers be left behind! The company, Seasons Culinary, is not meeting the standard for food service workers in this city. Here are some examples of how their proposal compares with what DC workers have at a similar cafeteria: Seasons Culinary Proposal: No raise for the next 3 years Employees would pay $187.25 per month for single health insurance DC UNITE HERE Local 23 Contract at Holocaust Museum Cafeteria: Raises of 25 cents twice a year Employees pay $53.50 a month for single health insurance on the same plan as is being proposed at...

From December: Victories on Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Days

In case you missed it: DC Jobs with Justice, Respect DC and a large, diverse coalition of workers, community organizations, labor unions, faith groups, and businesses won two historic victories for workers’ rights in the District. After years of pushing for living wages for all workers (and specifically at Walmart) and expanding paid sick days to all workers, both campaigns came to an sudden, successful end in December of 2013.  Starting in July of this year, the DC minimum wage will climb annually until it reaches $11.50 per hour, and will rise with the cost of living thereafter. And several years after DC became one of the first jurisdictions in the country to pass a paid sick leave law, the Paid Sick Days campaign was able to remove several exclusionary loopholes. What a way to end the year for working families in the District! Stay tuned for more updates as we ensure these laws get funded, go properly enforced, and become public knowledge. See here for an in-depth look at what these two bills offer for workers, courtesy of the DC Employment Justice...

Workers Win $4,237 from Popular Georgetown Restaurants

On Wednesday, February 6, three former workers of two popular restaurants in Georgetown won a combined $4,237 in unpaid wages.  After many months of struggling for their pay, the workers returned to the restaurant with more than 50 allies from the community, who stood outside the restaurants to ensure that the three workers were paid. Sure enough, just minutes later, the workers emerged  with their newly won wages. Fresh off its victory, the group held a rally at which the workers repeatedly stressed the importance of fellow worker, community, and student support in the effort to reclaim stolen wages. DC Jobs with Justice, La Unión de Trabajadores and the rest of the DC Wage Theft Coalition – a group of labor, legal services, and workers’ rights organizations – will continue to support workers in the campaign to end wage theft in Washington, DC. But we can’t do it alone. We needed your support with wage theft at Georgetown restaurants, and we’ll need it again as we continue to send the message that we won’t tolerate wage theft in our city. Thank you so much for standing in solidarity with the Georgetown restaurant workers. Please take the pledge so we can keep you in the loop as we join more and more workers in the fight against wage theft.  ...

Respect DC Calls on JBG to Bring Affordable Housing and Good Jobs to the Region

Coalition says developer does not deserve Developer of the Year Award when their projects are harming communities and displacing residents. WASHINGTON, D.C., October 24 – Calling for an end to development that has been bringing low wage, part time jobs and displacing longtime residents, Respect DC rallied at noon today outside the Wardman Park Marriott in DC where the JBG Companies were receiving the “Developer of the Year” award from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, at their annual meeting, which costs over $1000/per person to attend. “Developers should not be rewarded for displacing residents and bringing jobs that make it impossible to live in the area and support a family,” said Mike Wilson, with DC Jobs with Justice. “DC and the region need more affordable housing, and jobs that allow people to work full time for a living wage. Fighting to stop the First Source hiring law, bringing a low wage employer like Walmart, and replacing affordable housing units with luxury condos and hotels, only harms our community.” Respect DC is calling on JBG to bring Walmart to the table with community groups and sign a Community Benefits Agreement before they move forward on any projects with the retailer. They also demand that JBG, which sits on the board of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the group suing the DC government over the recently strengthened First Source Hiring Law, call on ABC to drop the law suit. In addition, they joined with Tenants and Workers United in calling on JBG to preserve affordable housing and not displace more than 2,000 working families residing the Beauregard redevelopment zone...