A coalition of labor and immigrant-advocacy groups held marches converging in front of city hall in New York City in a show of support for workers’ rights on Thursday. Just one day after Republicans in the Senate voted almost unanimously to kill debate on a Democratic push to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, groups sought to boost that cause and that of undocumented workers, calling for an end to deportations and immigration reform legislation. A handful of city lawmakers were also expected to be on hand, including City Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, according to AmNY.
In lower Manhattan, about 100 protestors with immigrant-rights group Make the Road NY and LIUNA Local 78, which represents asbestos, lead and hazardous waste handlers, snaked through the financial district to the headquarters of New York Insulation. In 2012 the company, which employed LIUNA workers, pled guilty to wage fraud and was barred from contracting public workers for five years. Protestors chanted “Sí se puede” and booed mentions of the company by speakers including Assemblyman Francisco Moya.
Julissa Bisono, senior organizer at Make the Road, said her group had seen members affected by wage theft. One member told the Latin Times he had filed a complaint with the Department of Labor over some $600 in back pay owed to him by a construction company based in Queens and had been scheduled for an October appointment to review his claim. “We’re here to highlight it as a problem, today being International Workers’ Day,” Bisono said.
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