Retail workers, activists and politicians turned out to announce the
introduction of a new bill that could protect local workers from losing millions
of dollars in unpaid wages.
Diane Savino and Assemblyman Carl Heastie announced the Wage Theft Prevention
penalties and heighten enforcement for companies that illegally withhold or
steal wages from their employees. The bill was introduced in the Senate earlier
employees out of pay doesnt only hurt families, it hurts communities, Sen.
Savino said in front of a crowd waving signs supporting workers rights. It
makes scrupulous employees less competitive.
announcement took place in front of Scoop NYC at 475 Broadway, which is being
sued by employees for half a million dollars in unpaid overtime. Last month,
employees from the chain that sells top-designer brands rallied in front of
by workers for $3 million in unpaid wages.
from Mystique Boutique were also at the Friday rally, demanding $2 million in
back wages as part of another lawsuit.
Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of legal advocacy group Makethe Road New York, which is supporting the bill,
explained that more than $18.4 million a week and nearly $1 billion each year
is taken from
This money that would otherwise be
spent on food, rent and school supplies, Archila said at the event. This bill will turn around the perverse
economic incentives that currently encourage wage theft, undermine responsible
businesses and steal from our tax base.
Heastie added: This bill isnt anti-business. Its anti-bad business.
Bavouce, who worked for six years at Scoop NYCs
store, told DNAinfo at the event that the company paid him a flat rate but
forced him to work hours of overtime that he was never compensated for.
here to send money home to my family, but they treated us badly, said Bavouce,
whose wife and children live in
I hope a bill is passed so this doesnt happen any more.
Ferreyra, 23, who worked at a Mystique Boutique on
an hour when she received a promotion to be the store’s manager. However, she
said she did not receive overtime pay beyond her 40 hours a week.
understand how I was working more than 60 hours a week but not making enough
money to go to school, Ferreyra said. I didnt know any better at the time.
Shoe Mania, Scoop NYC and Mystique Boutique did not return calls for comment.