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Action against Allstate Interiors for their subcontracting wage theft

Fuerza and the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative (IWCC) continue our campaign against residential construction subcontractors with an action against Allstate Interiors, which owes drywall workers $14,800 in stolen wages. Since Allstate doesn't want to pay up, we're telling general contractor Hanover Development: No more contracts with Allstate until they pay up! Thank you to Metrowest Worker Center, the Brazilian Womens Group, MassCOSH, and the Lynn Worker Center for their support. Read more about the action at RI Future.org

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Action against Callahan, Inc. for their subcontracting wage theft

Fuerza joins the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Community Labor United, and the Carpenters union for an action against Callahan Inc., construction general contractor. Callahan, like many general contractors on projects where Fuerza members work, consistently hire bad subs who steal workers' wages and don't ensure safe working conditions.

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Community outreach with Center for Justice

Executive Director Heiny Maldonado and member leader Harol Lopez conducted outreach with Center for Justice staff member Keally Cieslik at the mobile Mexican Consulate event held at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Working together, Heiny, Harol, and Keally shared information and engaged in conversation with community members as they waited to speak with Mexican Consulate personnel.

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Women Leaders of Fuerza organize sexual harassment training with Center for Justice and Sojourner House

On Saturday, February 28, women leaders of Fuerza Laboral teamed up with the Center for Justice and the Sojourner House for our first ever training on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. This workshop was a "Training the Trainers" so that these leaders can hold more trainings and form a Women's Committee to denounce and organize against these abuses!

Rosa Hernandez (left image, on the left), training facilitator: "This workshop was helpful because Ms. Janton (Center for Justice) was able to clarify the laws, and this gives us the ability to speak about these issues. Many participants have kept quiet about their experiences because of fear. Knowing the laws will help us to better assess these situations in the future."

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Agreement reached with Central Falls Police Chief Mendonca and Mayor Diossa

After many meetings with the Central Falls Police Department and Mayor James Diossa, Police Chief James Mendonca has issued 2 very important policies for the undocumented community. If you are driving without a license, the police cannot arrest you simply for driving without a license. However, you do have to present a form of positive ID that contains your address, for example a consulate ID. A passport does not count. In addition, if they do arrest you, they cannot detain you based on a request from ICE. They can only hand you over to ICE if you have committed a serious crime or if you have a judicial warrant. If you have problems with the police in Central Falls, contact Fuerza Laboral!

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Press Conference to Condemn Delayed Action for DAPA & DACA

On Monday, February 23, the We Are All Arizona Coalition (Coalición de Todos Somos Arizona) held a press conference at the RI Supreme Court to publicly denounce Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen's injunction on President Obama's executive order which would give work permits to millions of undocumented parents. We won't let anyone get in the way of something that the undocumented community has been fighting so hard for years to win!

The We Are All Arizona Coalition is comprised of the following Rhode Island-based organizations: Immigrants in Action Committee, Fuerza Laboral/Power of Workers, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, San Jorge Episcopal Church, SEIU 32BJ District 615, RI Jobs with Justice, English for Action, and American Friends Service Committee—South East New England Program. We as a coalition held a press conference to forcefully denounce Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen’s temporary delay, which he announced this past Monday, February 16, to President Obama’s deferred action programs. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which the President announced in November 2014, will affect 4-5 million people from immigrant families living in the United States.

Read the coverage of our press conference in The Providence Journal.

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2nd Action/Street Theater to protest wage theft and abuse at Gourmet Heaven

Video by Steve Ahlquist for RI Future.org

On Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 11am, former employees of Gourmet Heaven, together with Fuerza Laboral, RI Jobs with Justice, and other community and labor allies, held their second action at the downtown Providence deli, entering the store to demand to speak directly to manager Mohamed Masaud to demand their unpaid wages and denounce physically dangerous and abusive working conditions. Workers and allies picketed outside the store and demonstrated to the public the kinds of abuses going on at the restaurant through a lively street theater piece directly in front of the store’s entrance. The Gourmet Heaven workers were joined by former employees of another Providence food establishment, Café Atlantic. These six workers have also organized through Fuerza Laboral to file claims with the Department of Labor and Training against their former employer, Juan Noboa, for over $17,000 in unpaid wages. “This is a problem not just at Gourmet Heaven, but in the restaurant and supermarket industry across the city and really across the country,” says Flor Salazar, former Café Atlantic employee and one of the claimants.

“Cho didn’t want to respond the first time we brought these complaints forward,” said Edgar Orellana, former Gourmet Heaven employee, member of Fuerza Laboral, and one of the plaintiffs on the case. “That is why we decided to hold a second public action at his store. We are showing him that this is not a game and we need to keep fighting for our wages.”

Earlier that day before the action, three former employees of Gourmet Heaven filed a case for non-payment of wages with the Rhode Island district federal court. They, along with six other former workers who will be joining the case later this week, are claiming a total of $140,000 in unpaid wages for up to two years working at deli Gourmet Heaven, located at 173 Weybosset St. and their recently closed location at 205 Meeting St. Former employees worked up to 72 hours a week but were only paid between $350 and $400, violating minimum wage and overtime state and federal laws.

Check out press coverage of the action below:

ABC 6 News

RI Future.org

Brown Daily Herald

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Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Brown Student Labor Alliance, Student Farmworker Alliance, and Fuerza bring farmworkers, 'Food Chains' screening to Rhode Island

Fuerza leaders, members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Student Farmworker Alliance, and the Brown Student Labor Alliance take action together! We had a screening of the documentary Food Chains, and held a discussion after the film on how to unite our struggles to empower workers in the face of corporate control and greed. The CIW has been organizing agricultural workers for years to pressure buyers to demand better working conditions from the growers. It is such a powerful movement that can teach our own movement about resilience, strategy, and power. Thank you to the members of the SLA who then came to support our Gourmet Heaven action!

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Action against wage theft at Cafe Atlantic

Video by Steve Ahlquist for RI Future 

Before sunrise on Thursday, January 15, four ex-employees of Cafe Atlantic gathered with leaders from Fuerza Laboral, RI Jobs with Justice, 32BJ SEIU, and local community leaders to demand justice and the payment of unpaid wages at the house of ex-owner Juan Noboa on the west side of Providence.

The ex-workers delivered powerful testimonies about the problem of wage theft and the difficulty of supporting their families at home and abroad. Thanks to RI Future and WJAR NBC10 for covering the action, and thanks to everyone who showed up to support the ex-workers in their fight!

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