Alabama Organizers File Federal Lawsuit, Take Stand Against Wage Theft

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Organizers hold signs in protest against wage theft. The Spanish reads, "One day worked... Is one day paid."

Mary Scott Hodgin

Organizers hold signs in protest against wage theft. The Spanish reads, "One day worked... Is one day paid."

A group of Alabama organizers filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of immigrant laborers who say their employers never paid them. The workers and their supporters gathered at the steps of the Hugo Black Courthouse in Birmingham Friday afternoon to celebrate the lawsuit.

Three men claim they are owed up to $10,000 each in unpaid wages. Jessica Vosburgh is director of the advocacy group Adelante. She says the men’s plight is not uncommon, and now hopes more victims will come forward.

“For these three workers who are filing a suit today, there are 30 or 300 or 3000 more workers, especially immigrants and people of color, who were too scared, intimidated or threatened by their bosses to stand up and exercise their rights under the law,” Vosburgh announced to the crowd.

The event marked the beginning of Adelante and Greater Birmingham Ministries new program called WOW – Winning Our Wages, designed to combat wage theft. The Economic Policy Institute says wage theft probably costs workers in the U.S. millions of dollars annually.

The advocacy group Adelante and Greater Birmingham Ministries led the effort to file the lawsuit. The organizations are coming together to educate the public about wage theft through a program titled WOW, Winning our Wages.
The advocacy group Adelante and Greater Birmingham Ministries led the effort to file the lawsuit. The organizations are coming together to educate the public about wage theft through a program titled WOW, Winning our Wages.
Mary Scott Hodgin