Save Alianza, Protesters Urge
El Diario La Prensa reported on former employees of Alianza Dominicana and Washington Heights residents urging elected officials to save what was once the largest Dominican non-profit in the city and pay back workers who are owned wages. Below is the translation of the article from Spanish.
Various former employees of Alianza Dominicana and residents of Washington Heights urged elected officials to save the organization and help recover thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.
Outside City Hall, around 50 protesters last week expressed their frustration over the organization’s uncertain future. In its heyday, Alianza Dominicana provided services to nearly 20,000 people a year.
Simona Santos, the former educational director of Alianza’s daycare center, said the agency owes her more than $35,000 in unpaid wages and vacation time over the past six months.
Santos said that because of the economic crisis, the daycare center that used to serve up to 90 children in the Bronx and Manhattan shut down, leaving 25 people without work.
“Many of my co-workers were evicted from their apartments. They had to apply for public housing and food stamps assistance. Hundreds of families are suffering,” she said.
Moisés Pérez, the founder and former executive director, convened a press briefing to shed light on the situation.
Pérez explained that around 300 workers have lost their jobs over the last two years, and the organization may owe former employees up to $1.5 million in unpaid wages.
People who use Alianza Dominicana’s services called upon the authorities to save the institution, which was founded in 1985. They argued that the shutdown is directly affecting thousands of low-income families.
Residents of Northern Manhattan asked that the issue not be politicized, and to concentrate efforts on keeping afloat one of the strongest and most symbolic pillars of the Dominican diaspora.
Augusto Suela, of Dominican descent, said Alianza needs unity and coordinated efforts. “We can’t go in different directions when an organization that is vital to the community is about to disappear. It’s time to unite.”