Fourteen former workers of Bravo Facilities Services, Inc. marched today at George Washington University to demand over $40,000 they are owed in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. In May, the workers were hired by Bravo, a cleaning contractor that is contracted by George Washington University. They spent the next two weeks working grueling 12 hour shifts cleaning at multiple buildings within the university. After two weeks, the workers were abruptly fired, and the company has refused to pay them their wages.
Today, the workers were no longer alone in demanding their wages. They were joined by the Employment Justice Center, OUR DC, the Restaurant Opportunities Center-DC and other members of the D.C. Wage Theft Coalition, a group of labor, community, and workers’ rights organizations that have come together to fight back against the rampant practice of wage theft in DC.
“It’s atrocious that in our nation’s capital, a company can so flagrantly deny workers their hard-earned wages,” said EJC Deputy Director Ari Weisbard. “The public needs to know that wage theft is a common occurrence in the District. It’s time to stand up and fight back.”
“If you don’t get paid in this country, they kick you out of your apartment. We have to pay for food, everything here,” said Cesar Monje, one of the workers who has not been paid. “We’re here because they haven’t paid us. We’re here to demand that they pay us now!”
Bystanders inside the university looked on, as the group of workers and their 30 community supporters chanted, “Bravo, Bravo, pay us now!”
Ultimately, Jonny Castillo, another worker who has not been paid, promised that the workers will return if they do not receive their wages. As the protesters marched away, they chanted, “We’ll be back!”
This article was originally printed on the Employment Justice Center Blog on July 12, 2013. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Hannah Kane joined the EJC as a Wage Theft Campaign Organizer in August, 2012. Prior to joining the EJC, Hannah received her Masters in Social Work from George Mason University. During graduate school, Hannah worked as an organizer and social worker with Tenants and Workers United, using a combination of social services, community organizing, and popular education to fight back against wage theft in Falls Church, Virginia. Hannah also worked as a social worker with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, providing Know Your Rights presentations to immigrants in detention and case management to former detainees being released back into the community. Hannah is a member of the National and Virginia chapters of the National Association of Social Worker