Written by Camden Bowman
When Eduardo went to work one morning, he didn’t know that the man who had picked him up to work wasn’t planning on paying him.
On the way back to the liebre, day laborers’ colloquial term for street corner hiring sites, after a hard day’s work, he asked his employer if they could make a quick stop so that he could pay his phone bill, and the employer agreed. Eduardo went inside and took care of his bill, but when he came back outside the employer had left without leaving him any information concerning how Eduardo could collect his wages.
Eduardo never saw him again, and had no way to get back the time and effort he had put into his work that day. To make matters worse, Eduardo was now at a store in the suburbs with no transportation back home.
The strategy that Eduardo’s employer used is common. Many workers tell stories of employers who take them to banks to “take money out,” tell them to go wash up, and then leave while they are not looking. Employers who steal wages also often fail to provide transportation back to the sites where they hired the workers, meaning that day laborers sometimes find themselves in faraway towns with no way to get home. Workers have to walk back to Denver from as far away as Castle Rock, and others tell stories of having been left in far-off states. Some workers live in Denver merely because someone brought them here and refused to pay them or give them transportation home.
Eduardo is just one example of the many cases of wage theft that the researchers, advocates, and direct action team members of the DU Just Wages Project @ Korbel are fighting against. By supporting our project you can help spread awareness of this issue and help workers like Eduardo regain their wages from unscrupulous employers. Please donate today.