Today is a good day to stand up for worker justice.
New Orleans' Congress of Day Laborers (Congreso de Jornaleros) has been organizing to pass a City Ordinance to combat the rampant wage theft in New Orleans. Today, they will join organizations across the country who are engaging in demonstrations and vigils to commemorate National Wage Theft Day.
According to members of the Congress, "the urgent need for this ordinance was demonstrated all too dramatically in a recent case that has shocked and saddened us. On Monday, November 2nd, a member of the Congress of Day Laborers approached his employer in an attempt to recover several weeks of unpaid wages. The employer refused to pay. When the worker attempted to negotiate, the employer pushed him and threatened the worker with physical violence – brandishing a hammer. Terrified, the worker called the New Orleans Police Department. When police officers arrived, they took it upon themselves to punish the worker instead of protecting him. They interrogated him about his immigration status, and issued a citation for disturbing the peace."
On September 9, Police Superintendent Riley announced that the New Orleans Police would not be asking about the immigration status of victims of crimes, saying, "We are not going to make someone a victim twice." Today, at 3:00pm at 715 S. Broad Street (near Orleans Parish Prison, at Tulane and Broad), the Congress of Day Laborers will hold a demonstration, joined by clergy, to ask Riley to fulfill his promise.
Then, later tonight, a new organization called the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New Orleans (ROCNO) will be holding an interfaith prayer vigil in front of Tony Moran’s, a Bourbon Street restaurant that workers say has engaged in a pattern of nonpayment of wages and created a discriminatory workplace
Members of ROCNO are asking supporters to meet at 7:30pm at the 100 block of Carondelet Street, near the intersection of Canal, to then walk over to Tony Moran’s Restaurant together by 8:00pm.