A project of the Center for Community Change

FIRM Spotlight: Somos un Pueblo Unido Helps Pass Law Protecting Workers

new-mexico

On March 6th, New Mexico’ governor Bill Richardson signed House Bill 489, which provides stronger protections for workers who file claims for unpaid wages and overtime and penalizes the employers who steal from them.

From our partners at Somos un Pueblo Unido:

Too many employers were getting away with stealing wages from New Mexico’s workers,” said Marcela Díaz, Director of Somos. “This law will make it easier for aggrieved workers to recuperate their wages, an important gain especially during these hard economic times.”

“This law not only benefits workers, but also levels the playing field between honest employers and dishonest ones who cut costs by stealing wages,” explained Brandt Milstein, a Santa Fe based labor attorney working with Somos on the bill.

During the last ten years, Somos has documented hundreds of wage theft abuses in the immigrant community. Last year alone, the Department of Workforce Solutions Labor Relations Division investigated over 2,400 wage claims from immigrant and non immigrant workers.

“The passage of this law sends a strong message to those employers who think they can take advantage of their workers,” said Rayos Burciaga, a housekeeper and Somos’ board member. “Now bad employers will think twice about cheating their employees out of their paycheck.”

Congratulations on this victory! This is yet another step towards helping to protect ALL workers and bringing immigrants out of the shadows. If we want our economy to work, it must work for everyone.

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