Angel Hernandez unloaded
boxes and stocked shelves at a C-Town on
for more than four years. He worked 72 hours a week for $400.
Unhappy with his situation,
he talked to the state Department of Labor officials and promptly lost his job.
They made us sign a blank time sheet, so they didnt have to pay overtime,
Hernandez said through a translator.
agency is investigating Hernandezs supermarket.
Complaints of wage and labor violations** are on the rise at low-end supermarkets, gourmet
grocers, coffee shops and four-star restaurants, state labor officials said.
The agency fielded 8,000 cases in 2008; this year, its up to 10,000, Deputy
Labor Commissioner Terri Gerstein said yesterday. She was standing in front of
a Bushwick Key Food to announce the results of a sweep involving eight
supermarkets where baggers worked long hours for tips alone.
Six of the stores agreed to
pay some 39 past and present baggers $317,687. The agency estimates the other
two owe nearly $400,000.
Penalties can be toothless.
The agency can fine employers who retaliate against workers who speak out $200
to $2,000. A bill under consideration in
would increase penalties to $1,000 to $10,000.
**Make the Road New York (MRNY) has been instrumental in the NYS Department of Labor’s
wage violation crackdown.