Category Archives: No Mandatory Overtime

Victory! Home Attendants Win Right to Demand 24 hours pay for 24 hours Worked!

Over a hundred home attendants from various NYC home care agencies and dozens of supporters convened at a workers’ center in Lower Manhattan Wednesday to celebrate several precedent-setting decisions issued in the past few weeks by the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division.  The decisions make the law clear:  it is illegal for employers to pay only 12 hours for 24-hour shifts.

For more than two years, home attendants who worked 24 hours a day for Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and First Chinese Presbyterian (FCP) have been fighting against their employers to recover stolen wages. Home attendants in these cases were forced by employers to work grueling 24-hour shifts, and like Andryeyeva, Moreno and Tokhtaman, were only paid for 12 hours of work. When CPC and FCP home attendants went to their union, 1199 SEIU, to complain, the union not only ignored them, but went as far as to help the employers by signing a new collective bargaining agreement that prevents the home attendants from having their day in court. But the home attendants never gave up––instead they reached out to workers from other cases to continue fighting. They feel vindicated by the recent decisions.

The decisions were issued in the cases of Adriana Moreno v Future Care Health Services, Inc., Lilya Andryeyeva v New York Health Care, Inc. and Nina Tokhtaman v Human Care, LLC. The plaintiffs in all three cases were 24-hour home attendants who had not been paid for the overnight hours. The courts upheld the home attendants’ right to be paid for each of the 24 hours, “regardless of whether they were afforded opportunities for sleep and meals.”

Lai Yee Chan, a current CPC home attendant who attended the celebration today, said, “This is really good news for us! It means we will be able to get back the wages stolen from us by our agency. And it sends a warning to the companies that try to mess with workers’ hard-earned money. So it is good news not only for home attendants but also other workers across trades. We have been working 24-hour shifts for years, and many of us got injured due to long hours of work and became patients ourselves. This affects our quality of service, and therefore hurts both workers and the patients we are taking care of. We are demanding an end to the inhumane 24-hour shifts, and instead demanding a change to 12-hour shifts.”

A former FCP worker, Alvaro Ramirez, home attendant and member of the AIW campaign said, “Today, we are celebrating this victory as an important accomplishment. We will continue to fight and we are calling on all home attendants to unite with us and demand pay for all of the 24 hours worked and to stop mandatory overtime.”

 

The workers are asking other home attendants, regardless of agencies, whether in the union or not, to come out and join the campaign. They demand the agencies to pay back the stolen wages immediately and stop mandatory overtime.

 

WATCH THIS: Lai Yee Chan’s 24 Hour Shift

Do you think it’s right to force workers into arbitration? What about forcing workers to do overtime? Do you have ideas on how to promote the campaign or want to get involved?

You can:

  • Sign a petition to 1199SEIU here
  • Tweet the Ain’t I A Woman?! position paper on why we need to #Fightfor40 and #StopMandatoryOT to President Obama and any presidential candidate.
  • Get your organization to endorse the Ain’t I A Woman?! Campaign.
  • Contact the Ain’t I A Woman?! Campaign about how you are organizing in your community and/or invite Ain’t I A Woman?! to speak at your next event.

CPC forces home attendants to work 24 hours! Workers call on 1199 SEIU to stand with them, clean up their act!

Lai Yee Chan, a home attendant for Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), helped her patients day and night for over 15 years. During the day, she bathed and fed her patients. At night, she helped them get out of bed and go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. She could not leave her patient for even a second of her 24-hour shift. One day her daughter was locked out of her house, but Lai Yee was not allowed to go downstairs to give her daughter the key. Adding insult to injury, Lai Yee has not seen a pay increase in 8 years, is not paid for the 12 hours of work at night, except for a small fee, and is never paid overtime. Ultimately, workers like Lai Yee are paid about $5/hour, way less than the minimum wage.

1Bwqt0JTnGY3GXzR7X9bsmi_eb7d1-d6YoS9zGMwIn November, 2014, Lai Yee received a check from NYS Department Labor of about $200 for the 6,000 hours of overtime she worked from 2007 to 2013. Lai Yee went to her union, 1199 SEIU, for help. Union reps refused to file a grievance, and lied, telling her CPC was not required to pay overtime because CPC is a non-profit. Lai Yee and a few other workers were frustrated and decided that they wanted to speak out against the wage theft and mandatory overtime. With the support of Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association, in March 2015 they filed a class action against CPC and organized over a hundred co-workers to join them. CPC argued that the case should be arbitrated, according to their contract with the Union, and asked the court to dismiss the case. But in September 2015, New York State Supreme Court Judge Carol Edmead rejected the employer’s argument, stating that the contract’s arbitration clause was not specific enough to prevent workers from proceeding in court. She also affirmed their right to pursue pay for all hours worked.

Immediately after, the union shamelessly entered into an agreement with the employer to amend the contract making arbitration mandatory for any wage claims and prohibiting workers from representing other workers or the class. The amendment deprived workers of their right to a fair day in court. The new contract also cut the wages for all 24-hour-shift workers, instead of giving them their wage increase that was long overdue.

The union’s legal staff claimed the new contract was not being used to stop workers from pursuing the lawsuit, yet other union reps pushed hard for ratification of the new contract. Lai Yee and her coworkers felt compelled to speak out against this corrupt deal. When they complained about the amended contract at the ratification meeting, union reps called them “troublemakers” and attacked the workers who filed the lawsuit.

We demand the union stand by the workers instead of standing with CPC! We urge 1199 SEIU President George Gresham to clean house and remove the mandatory arbitration requirement from the union contract!

Do you want to support the home attendants to get justice and fight against mandatory overtime? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get your organization to join the Ain’t I a Woman Campaign by visiting https://aintiawoman.org/endorse/
  2. Send a letter urging 1199 SEIU President George Gresham to clean house: 1199 Healthcare Workers East, 310 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036
  3. Sign the petition online
  4. Speak out against Mandatory Overtime and for the Right to a 40-Hour Week
  5. Get involved and plan your own activities! Contact the campaign with any ideas at aiwcampaign@gmail.com!

On March 8, Commemorate International Working Women’s Day

Workers protested this summer and called on Costco to boycott Sweatshop manufacturer Reynolds.

Workers protested this summer and called on Costco to boycott Sweatshop manufacturer Reynolds.

Shame on Costco for Selling Sweatshop Products!

What: Rally for Working Women’s Rights!

Date: March 8, 2015 | International Working Women’s Day

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: Brooklyn Costco

976 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (between 37th and 38th Streets)

Take the D/N/R to 36th Street or contact us to coordinate.

For more info, visit www.boycottreynolds.org