Friday, Oct 31st

Last update05:45:03 AM GMT

You are here News Economy Labor sharks sink teeth into low-wage immigrant workers

Labor sharks sink teeth into low-wage immigrant workers

E-mail Print PDF

Wage theftWhen Ophelia Hernández, a 53-year-old clothing store owner from El Salvador, got working papers to come to the United States, she jumped at the chance to escape the gang violence and extortionists who had forced her out of business in her native country. As she began her job search in New York, however, Hernández came up against a different kind of extortion in the form of labor sharks.

These predatory employment agencies exploit low-wage job seekers, many of whom are newly arrived or undocumented immigrants, by charging them exorbitant fees for jobs that pay less than the minimum wage – and sometimes don’t even exist.

Sitting in the small apartment in Queens she shares with family members, Hernández recounted how she had to pay a $400 fee for a house-cleaning job that lasted only two weeks and paid well below the legal minimum wage.

“I had to work more than 12 hours a day, six days a week, for just $200 after the fee was deducted,” she said, speaking through an interpreter. “After two weeks, the agency told me the woman who had been doing the job was coming back.”

Today, Hernández gets by looking after her relatives’ children – three toddlers and a 5-year-old. Her search for a more permanent job, one that pays a living wage, has been stymied by the labor sharks. “We can’t trust the agencies,” she said, “but it’s really hard to get any work without them.”


Most Recent Related Stories...

One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes

Detroiters to lose homesEvone Brown, a 55-year-old former machine operator, survives on $850 a month from retirement and disability...

Yellen says US experiencing widening inequality

Janet YellenFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that the last several decades have seen the most...

Hundreds Give Up U.S. Passports After New Tax Rules Start

New tax lawsThe number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship increased 39 percent in the three months through September...

Banks accept derivatives rule change to end 'too big to fail' scenario

London financial districtThe $700 trillion financial derivatives industry has agreed to a fundamental rule change from January to...
America's # 1 Enemy
Tee Shirt
& Help Support!
TVNL Tee Shirt
Conserve our Planet
& Help Support!
Get your 9/11 & Media
Deception Dollars
& Help Support!
The Loaded Deck
The First & the Best!
The Media & Bush Admin Exposed!