Central West Justice Center & Community Legal Aid is holding its first Wage and Hour Clinic to assist eligible individuals with wage and hour claims.
Wage and Hour Clinic
405 Main St., 3rd Floor, Worcester
· Presentation on Your Legal Rights Under Wage and Hour Laws (in Spanish and English)
· Individual consultation will be given to eligible participants as space and time permit, following the presentation.
· Space and time for individual consultations are limited. To ensure an individual consultation, individuals should pre-register.
· For an individual consultations, a registrant must be low-income or elderly and reside in Central or Western Massachusetts.
· Free consultation on demand letters, small claims court and other avenues for protecting rights under the wage and hour laws will be provided.
· To pre-register, apply online at http://communitylegal.org/applications/unemployment, and note that you would like to attend the wage and hour training.
If you do not have access to the internet you may contact Evelyn at (844) 295-4240 ext. 5343 or firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.
Topics for the presentation and consultation include:
· Minimum Wage
· Overtime Pay
· Non-Payment of Wages/ Late Pay/Bounced Checks
· Meal Breaks
· Day of Rest
· Unlawful Deductions
· Failure to provide records
· Failure to provide pay stubs
· Vacation/Sick Time Pay
· Misclassification as Independent Contractor
By Rosalie Tirella
I’m a blue-collar gal through and through. As working class as you can get!
I grew up working class/poor in Worcester’s Green Island neighborhood. My beloved Polish grandfather worked his whole life in the Dudley textile mills, PROUDLY joining the union there; my mother worked 6O!! hours a week at the old Oscar’s Cleaners on Millbury Street – a dry cleaners. For minimum wage, courtesy of cheapskates, the ASADOURIAN FAMILY, her whole life! EXPLOITED to the max.
I grew up around construction guys, day laborers. Exploited too.
My grandfather was an excellent carpenter, building this huge porch swing for my Bapy, which proudly swung on our Lafayette Street front porch for years… He was always making things… stools, benches, even tin cups…
For five years I went out with the Old Injun Fighter (OIF) a contractor/ handyman/ carpenter who loved doing “finish work,” could put a porch on a house, put in a bathroom, and, yes, build a little home, if he needed to. He’s from blue collar Lynn, where his dad worked in the leather factories there. (His mother was a photographer for one of the city’s department stores. She was artistic, beautiful, mercurial/crazy … and ahead of her time…)
I put out InCity Times, which requires a lot of blue color LOCOMOTION! Such as delivering thousands of ICT newspapers every two weeks, running around selling ads, dealing with printing guys, knowing about skids, and lifts, and using your back the right way.
AS FAR AS WCLC AND ITS REQUESTS OF THE CITY of Worcester, REGARDING THE LABOR AT THE OLD COURTHOUSE and Brady Sullivan developers from New Hampshire I say:
YES! to the WCLC list!
Because, and I speak from experience/ a deep knowledge:
Lots of developers and contractors EXPLOIT workers. If they can get a borderline homeless neighborhood guy to do grunt construction work for $8 or ten bucks an hour, they will. The guy may have a drinking problem, he may collect social security disability, he may even have a drug problem. Still … he is a body to exploit, someone to haul crap away, dig holes…He is dispensable. He is a sitting duck. HE WILL SAY YES. THIS ENABLES THE CONTRACTOR to save a TON of money by not going with a reputable shop that pays its laborers around 20 bucks an hour and its professional carpenters, bricklayers, etc even more $$$$.
CONTRACTORS HATE PAYING workers compensation. It’s expensive. The OIF will do it BECAUSE IT’S THE LAW AND IF CAUGHT BREAKING THE LAW HE WILL HAVE TO STOP WORK AND PAY A FINE, BUT HE HATES IT. If contractors can wiggle around the law, and not get caught, many will. TOUGH LUCK TO THE WORKER WHO FALLS OFF A ROOF AND BREAKS A LEG or trips on a cable and slips in the mud and cracks his head or drowns in the mud as a huge hole, without proper supports, fills up.
Which leads me to my next point … Construction worker is THE MOST DANGEROUS JOB THERE IS.
Not firefighter, not cops, BUT CONSTRUCTION WORKER. Hundreds die or are critically injured every year.
BUILDING STUFF. Working on HUGE TRUCKS, working on scaffolding, working with drills and nail guns. Work sites run by slip shod contractors are booby traps, death traps. I know a great gifted carpenter who lost an eye on a job! Heartbreaking.
More guys die fixing buildings, building tunnels, digging holes, etc than fighting fires, etc. THE OLD INJUN FIGHTER NEVER LET ME FORGET THIS.
CONTRACTORS often hire illegal immigrants and exploit these fearful folks TO THE MAX. SOMETIMES ITS CLOSE TO SLAVE LABOR. This allows them to undercut legit shops and get the job…2. make more $$$. Contractors love to make money!
Several times in Worcester, at the GREENWOOD STREET PRICE CHOPPER supermarket, later at night, I saw several contractors in their vans coming out with wagons full of groceries. One guy: HE OPENED THE VAN BACK DOOR. I saw a huge group of laborers inside the van sitting on their haunches – they were dark skinned…They took the food. He slammed the door. I WAS MORTIFIED.
Slave labor. Does anyone NOT believe this still goes in?? … here, too?
WHEN CONTRACTORS HIRE AND EXPLOIT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS THEY CHARGE the developer/customer as much as ONE THIRD TO A HALF less $$$ than a legit contractor who is FOLLOWING THE LAWS AND PAYING INTO WORKERS COMP, PAYING a living wage etc. does.
This gets them the job because their labor costs hit rock bottom, which they pass on to their customers. They undercut the union shops following the rules, paying their guys living wages.
This happens a lot in ROOFING (South American workers exploited here) and HARDWOOD FLOORING (Vietnamese workers here) .
The groups that are trying to educate WORCESTER CITY COUNCILORS, people like JACK DONAHUE OF THE CARPENTERS UNION, are not making stuff up.
They know, hands on, just how rotten things can be.
They are not commie lowlife hipsters trying to undermine America.
They are good family men, good standing members of the community. They live in Worcester and want what’s best for her.
THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR AMERICA AND THE AMERICAN WAY. (Not unlike Superman!)
We, as a city, need to develop the Worcester Courthouse, but NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WORCESTER WORKER, LABOR LAWS, GOOD WAGES, A SAFE WORK SITE. The courthouse is a gem in a great safe Worcester neighborhood. The Worcester Art museum, Institute Park, WPI, the Worcester Historical Museum’s mansion are all in this great neighborhood. THERE WILL BE OTHER DEVELOPERS, if Brady Sullivan walks away. WE JUST NEED TO MARKET THE BUILDING WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD and DO IT AGGRESSIVELY!
The carpenters union guys are GOOD GUYS supporting the American right to work safely and legally at a work site while MAKING A LIVING WAGE.
Worcester city councilors Ric Rushton, Joe Petty, George Russell, Phil Palmieri, Konnie Lukes, Tony Economou and colleagues must RESPECT where Donahue and his colleagues are coming from. BECAUSE THEY ARE SPEAKING TRUTH TO $$$/POWER.
The Worcester City Council must support the WCLC’ s recommendations tomorrow night!
MAKE SURE BRADY SULLIVAN DOESN’T LEAVE LOCAL WORKERS OUT IN THE COLD if they get the old Worcester courthouse job!
MAKE SURE THEY HIRE SHOPS WITH APPRENTICE PROGRAMS if they are chosen to redevelop the old Worcester courthouse by Lincoln Square!
Local jobs for locals! Now! – R. Tirella
Worcester City Hall
Worcester City Council Economic Development Committee:
Rick Rushton(chair), Sarai Rivera & George Russell
Hearing on Courthouse Development
5 pm, Tuesday, March 31
3rd floor, Worcester City Hall
What do we want the City to do in the Courthouse agreement ?
· to provide local jobs for local people
· have an agreement that is verifiable, “better effort” isn’t good enough
· put a penalty in place if the agreement is broken
Please come and add your voice and your support!
Local Jobs for Local People!
The seasonally adjusted Massachusetts Employment Population Ratio ticked up again in December from 61.5% to 61.7%, up from 59.8% in December 2013 but still far down from the pre-recession high of 64.2% in December 2006 or the pre-dot-com recession high of 66.5% in December 2000.
The Mass Division of Labor and Workforce Development reported today that the official seasonally-adjusted U3 rate, which leaves out those who haven’t applied for a job in over a month, involuntary part time workers, anyone who has never held a job, anyone receiving a pension no matter how small or who is putting in even a few hours of unpaid work on a family business or farm, is down to 5.5% from 5.8% in November and 6.7% in December 2013.
Chris Horton of the Worcester Unemployment Action Group commented: “While these figures and the direction in which they are moving are encouraging, this is very far from showing the healthy job market that the latest official U3 Unemployment Rate figures seem to point to. Many of our members are struggling to get by on part time and marginal work or work far below their skill and education levels for wages far less than they need, but would not be classed as unemployed. We are watching the situation cautiously, hoping this upturn will continue, but we don’t see where the demand for goods and services is coming from that could sustain it, because most of the people we know have no money to spend.”
Michelle Arnhold of Worcester, who described herself as a “highly educated single parent with two special needs children”, when asked of what she thought of President Obama’s claim that the job market is almost back to normal, said: “That’s inaccurate and uneducated. If he actually came out of his office and spent a day with us regular folk who are looking and begging for work every day he would think differently. I’ve been unemployed for two years and I’ve filled out over 200 applications for everything from healthcare to construction, entry level jobs to jobs I have a degree for. I would do any kind of work to support my children but there’s just nothing out there. They need to go back to the drawing board and look a little deeper, and then report actual facts.”
This morning, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) and Representative Mary Keefe (D-Worcester) will file an omnibus bill backed by a large coalition of community, religious, and union organizations, to improve Massachusetts’ systems of criminal justice, end mass incarceration, and re-invest in our schools and in job-creation.
Included in the bill are:
I. Criminal Justice Reforms:
Repeal Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences – This would restore judicial discretion in sentencing for drug charges, reducing the risk of longer than warranted prison terms.
Reduce Certain Low-Level Felonies to Misdemeanors – Under this scenario, certain offenses (such as shoplifting or other petty theft, or low-level drug charges) would be made misdemeanors, with different sanctions relying less on long terms of incarceration.
End Collateral Sanctions at the RMV – Under current law, the Registry of Motor Vehicles confiscates the license of a person convicted of any drug offense for up to 5 years, and charges at least $500 to reinstate.
Extraordinary Medical Placement – This would allow a judge to decide whether a person who is permanently incapacitated or terminally ill should be transferred out of prison for treatment, remaining under state custody.
II. Jobs and Schools:
The final sections of the bill establish a trust fund with the savings from these improvements in the criminal justice system, which will be used to right our unbalanced economy, investing in evidence-based practices including job development efforts for youth, veterans, victims of violence and other people with significant barriers to employment, as well as programs to support youth to stay in school.
Job Training to address the skills gap identified by Massachusetts industry leaders;
Transitional jobs and pre-apprenticeship programs to prepare people and place them in good, living-wage jobs;
Youth jobs that provide both sustenance and experience
Initiatives to create new jobs through social enterprises, coops, and other businesses.
Evidence-based programs that support young people to stay in school and get a complete education.
NOTE: Legislators are also filing many of the above sections as separate, individual bills: Mandatory Minimums: Rep. Swan and Sen. Creem; Extraordinary Medical Placement: Rep. Toomey and Sen. Jehlen; RMV Collateral Sanctions: Rep. Malia and Sen. Chandler.
Nice but NOT a living wage for Massachusetts workers … – R.T.
IMPORTANT [INCREASES] TO THE MASSACHUSETTS MINIMUM WAGE
In accordance with An Act Restoring the Minimum Wage and Providing Unemployment Insurance Reforms Chapter 144 of the Acts of 2014
Effective January 1, 2015
MINIMUM WAGE in Massachusetts will be $9.00 PER HOUR
The minimum wage law applies to all employees except those being rehabilitated or trained in charitable, educational, or religious institutions; members of religious orders; agricultural, floricultural, and …
… horticultural workers; those in professional service; and outside salespersons not reporting to or visiting their office daily.
See M.G.L. chapter 151, §§1 and 2. For further information regarding the Massachusetts state minimum wage
If you have questions, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards at (617) 626-6952 …
… or visit www.mass.gov/dols.
In no case shall the Massachusetts minimum wage rate be less than $0.50 higher than the effective federal minimum rate.
SERVICE RATE: $3.00 PER HOUR
Wait staff, service employees and service bartenders may be paid the service rate if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 a month, and if their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, are equal to or exceed the basic minimum wage. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §7.
AGRICULTURAL RATE: $8.00 PER HOUR
Work on a farm and the growing and harvesting of agricultural, floricultural and horticultural commodities requires payment of no less than the above-listed rate per hour, except when such wage is paid to a child seventeen years of age or under, or to a parent, spouse, child or other member of the employer’s immediate family. See M.G.L. chapter 151, §2A.
Effective January 1, 2016:
• Minimum Wage shall be $10.00 per hour
• Service Rate shall be $3.35 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $10.00 per hour).
Effective January 1, 2017:
• Minimum Wage shall be $11.00 per hour
• Service Rate shall be $3.75 per hour (provided service employee receives tips of more than $20 per month and if his/her average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, equals $11.00 per hour).
By William S. Coleman III, community activist
Reverend Clyde Tally, welcomed the Worcester Community Labor Coalition to AME Zion Church, Illinois Street, on Monday, Nov 17. This well planned and organized meeting of labor and community leaders had the undivided and focused attention of state and locally elected leaders. The impressive leadership from the community shared their concerns and hopes that proposed economic development coming to our city would have a focused interest on making sure that Worcester residents were given priority consideration when hiring construction jobs begins.
Sandy Ellis, of the Massachusetts Nurses Association presented the purpose of the meeting and its goals.
Frank Kartheiser, of the Worcester Interfaith presented a brief history to the Worcester Community Labor Coalition.
Robert Thomas of The Martin Luther King Center highlighted the successes of the coalition in working with elected officials and notably State Senator Harriet Chandler.
Chris Condon, of CSC Solutions presented the results of a survey conducted between July 8th and 10th 2014. 400 registered voters in Worcester participated. Chris explained what a Community Benefit Agreement consists of:
“A Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) is a contract negotiated between an institution/developer and a coalition representing a spectrum of community leaders. Elected officials participate to ensure the public needs are met.” In the CBA goals were spelled out for hiring talented individuals with previous obstacles to employment. Some targeted categories include: local residents, veterans, single parents, individuals with past felony conviction on their criminal records, women, people of color, and low income residents. The meeting highlighted the need for apprenticeship programs and training opportunities that will lead to good job careers.
A CBA benefits the community, the developers and a skilled and educated workforce.
David Minasian of the Carpenters Local 107, detailed the positive benefits of economic growth and development for our City.
Lenny Cooper, of the Worcester NAACP Unit # 2058 presented the goals for the Coalition.
Many community concerns were addressed by organizations like “Neighbor to Neighbor” when they put forth a need to adjust bus schedules that included express bus services to large employers and to the Auburn Mall.
The audience was given an opportunity to present questions to Coalition members and share their thoughts on important community concerns.
Richard Shea, Senate District Coordinator of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, elaborated on the challenges that poverty presents to students who drop out of high school and the need to rally for preschool education programs throughout our public schools.
Many elected officials attended this meeting and actively participated pledging their support to the goals of the Coalition and its goals.
Tomorrow, Thursday, the Worcester Unemployment Action Group
and the Grace Team Unemployment Project will release the 2nd ever …
Mass. Employment Population Ratio (EPR) statistic
Our response to the official November Mass Jobs and Unemployment Report, due out that morning.
The November Mass EPR statistic will be calculated and emailed to the press mid-morning tomorrow (for release at noon), and will be presented at a Press Conference, tomorrow, Thursday, 12/18, 12:00-12:45 pm in front of Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St.
Leaders and unemployed and underemployed folks will speak about the unemployment situation on the ground and the need for stronger action.
The Mass EPR data, which comes from the BLS by way of the Mass Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, was extracted from their Website:
It is calculated by dividing the Employment statistic by the Working Age Population (population age 16+) statistic. The Mass EPR, which so far as we can determine has not been published by Massachusetts in recent years, is entirely equivalent to the regularly published and increasingly cited US BLS Employment Population Ratio, with all of its strengths and weaknesses.