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Ensure Equal Rights for All Workers

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Open Letter to the US Attorney General, Eric Holder CC: US Department of Labor, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis In the past few years, the Justice Will Be Served! Campaign has been organizing thousands of workers throughout New York State to stand up against sweatshop conditions in the service industry. In spite of firing, blacklisting and even physical assault from employers, many workers have still come forward to fight for their rights. This has not only improved working conditions, but also has helped many other workers gain confidence to enforce the law through litigation or filing complaints with government agencies. In 2009, due to the complaints of 20 drivers of the Flushing New York enterprise, Yes! Car Service, the NY State Department of Labor began investigating rampant misclassification practices in the car service industry. For over ten years, drivers worked up to 16 hours per day without any wages and were forced to pay the company weekly fees to work. Owner Tony Luo collected all cash from the drivers and did not report to the government. When drivers protested the fees, Luo retaliated against them with threats, harassment, firing, and even gang violence. On August 2, 2010, based on the drivers’ evidence, the NYS Department of Labor determined that drivers of the Yes Car Service Enterprise are employees and not independent contractors, awarding unemployment insurance (UI) to one of the drivers and requiring that Luo hand in payroll records of all employees, which he had never submitted to the federal or state government. Luo appealed the decision and since then, federal government agents, including agents from the US Department of Labor have launched a campaign of harassment by repeatedly going to homes of drivers who testified during the UI hearings and threatening them with arrest and deportation if they didn’t give false statements and recant their previous sworn testimonies. The drivers refused to lie under oath and continued to assert their rights under the law. On January 23, 2012, on the start of the Chinese New Year, three of the drivers Hong Xian Liu, Bi Sheng Liu, and Lin Guo were arrested. The US DOL is mandated to enforce the labor law. It should encourage workers to come forward. It should not abuse its public power by allowing its agents to attack workers who come forward to complain. It should not use workers’ immigration status to discourage documented and undocumented workers from coming together to assert their rights. It should not aid lawbreaking employers to escape prosecution and promote sweatshops. Furthermore, the US Department of Labor under the Obama administration should not revive the Sensenbrenner Bill HR 4887 , by harassing, intimidating, and attacking organizations that assist undocumented workers who come together with documented workers to enforce the labor law. The US DOL not only deprived undocumented workers of their right to complain to government agencies, it also undermines the rights of citizens. We ask for your organization’s support to demand the federal government: 1. Immediately release and dismiss the case of workers arrested. 2. Investigate and prosecute the federal government agents. 3. Ensure the rights of all workers to complain to federal and state government agencies regardless of their immigration status; equal rights for all workers. 4. Do not revive HR 4437. - Justice Will Be Served! Campaign (JWBS)


Justice Will Be Served! Campaign


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