Alliance Defending Westchester Immigrant Workers Turns Five

Leaders from the five organizations that form the Westchester Labor Alliance, during the press conference. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

The Westchester Labor Alliance, formed by nonprofits United Community Center of Westchester, Neighbors Link, Community Resource Center, United Laborers of Yonkers and Don Bosco Workers’ Center, celebrated their five years of struggle in defense of immigrant workers by telling them: “Sí se puede” – “Yes, we can.”

At a press conference held in Port Chester, members of the Alliance explained the situation of labor abuse and wage theft prevailing in Westchester, adding that workers in the county who feel that their rights have been violated may reach out to the organization for help in solving their problems.

One of the greatest recent achievements of the Alliance is the case of Port Chester’s Elisa’s Food, overseen by the Don Bosco Workers’ Center in favor of five workers who claimed to have been exploited. The community center has been able to obtain a court order to require the owner of the business to return $47,000 to the workers, and justice is now being done.

“We have received the first checks. The district attorney’s office has received $19,000 and has sent us $14,000, which has been distributed among the affected employees of Elsa’s Food according to the hours worked. They are five workers, all of them mothers,” explained Gonzalo Cruz, director of the center.

The employer’s next appointment will be on June 5, and she will have to deliver an additional $26,000 as part of her debt for unpaid wages to her staff. “If she fails to do so, she could go to jail for five months,” explained Cruz. “Our greatest triumph is getting workers their money.”

Port Chester workers who are victims of labor or wage abuse may file their complaints by calling (914) 433-6666.

During the press conference, representatives of each of the organizations belonging to the Labor Alliance explained the work they perform in the community and the Alliance’s mission to help Westchester become a “Wage Theft-Free Zone.”

State Assembly Members Shelley Meyer and Steve Otis were in attendance and gave their support to immigrant workers and the Alliance.

On its fifth anniversary, the organization has assisted nearly 10,000 workers.

Dozens marched on Sunday, May 7, in Mount Kisco, in support of immigrants. (Photo via Westchester Hispano)

Pro-immigrant rally

[Westchester Hispano also reported on a pro-immigrant rally that took place last Sunday in Mount Kisco]

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“There is a profound sense of fear among the immigrants living in our community,” said Carola Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link. “We want to tell them that we have a profound admiration and respect for all the contributions they make to the  Mount Kisco community (…).”

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