Over the past two years CTUL has met with over 1500 low-wage workers in the metro area and engaged over 600 low-wage workers in our Leadership Development Program. Through this Program, we have had enormous successes, including:
- Partnering with over 250 workers to build campaigns to secure close to $500,000 in back wages and other damages from unscrupulous employers.
- Partnering with hundreds of low-wage workers to gain longer-term changes in their workplaces including: gaining significant wage increases, gaining access to concrete benefits, and ensuring that over a dozen companies with more than 600 low-wage workers change company policies that were in direct violation of the federal labor law and ensuring that workers are paid overtime, minimum wage, and all the hours they are owed.
Examples of successful campaigns include:
- Hot Stuff Foods. Hot Stuff Foods produces frozen food products for service stations, government contracts and other places. Most of the workers at the Hot Stuff Foods plant in Minnesota worked through one of two temporary agencies. Through petitions, marches, flyering and other direct actions, workers organized not only to save their jobs, but to go on to win 12-15% wage increases (the first raise many of the workers had seen in over 10 years) and concrete benefits including paid vacations and holidays,. Gerania Mata, who has worked for the plant for two years, said “People always tell us that because we are temporary workers we don’t have rights. We showed the company and other workers that we can fight and we can win!”
- Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine. Two kitchen staff at Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine had to work up to 72 hours per week, and were only paid around $750 every two weeks. At this pay rate, they were earning around $4.50 / hour (including overtime hours owed). Workers approached CTUL, and we built an organizing plan combining direct public pressure and legal action to recover around $10,000 in unpaid wages.