This month, Houston janitors and security officers were joined by Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia and City Council Member Robert Gallegos for a round table discussion regarding a recently released report on alleged wage theft by City contractors at tax-payer funded facilities.
“Today we are releasing a report titled ‘Protecting Our Paychecks’ about wage theft and how it hurts the workers of our city,” said Elsa Caballero, President of SEIU Texas. “We uncovered 35 cases of potential wage theft in just the last 6 months, so clearly there is a crisis. And these cases are before our city was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.”
Unable to hold back her tears, Ms. Lee Poole, a security officer employed by Norred & Associates at Bush Intercontinental Airport, told the story of how she has been waiting for months for a resolution on the Inspector General’s investigations into her claims of wage theft. “I believe my employer has been underpaying me for years. I was already living paycheck to paycheck before the Hurricane, but after Harvey hit I lost everything–my car and apartment were completely flooded and I had to evacuate by boat.”
The security officers and janitors speaking at the round table claim their employers–who hold these lucrative city contracts–are engaging in wage theft right now by allegedly forcing workers to attend unpaid briefings before shifts, failing to pay overtime, underpaying workers and more.
Senator Garcia responded to allegations with, “Shame, shame, shame on this company. As a contractor of a government entity, these stories of wage theft are even more appalling because, if the government isn’t looking out for workers, who will?”
Also in attendance at the round table–the Workers Defense Project, the Texas Organizing Project and community supporters.