A group of three Korean-Chinese construction day laborers whose employer refused to pay them any wages for their work won a settlement of about $2,900 to settle their claims.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project, with help from YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community, represented Mr. “Nam” and his two nephews, all “Korean-Chinese,” or ethnic Koreans who had immigrated from China.
Steven Choi, Director of the AALDEF Korean Workers Project, said, “There are too many Korean-Chinese workers who are shamelessly exploited for their labor. Many employers believe they can cheat these workers because they are a marginalized, ignored community, and that these workers will not fight back. I applaud Mr. Nam for coming forward to assert his rights, and we will continue to pursue legal remedies against any employers who exploit them.” Yu Soung Mun, Executive Director of YKASEC, commented, “The Korean-Chinese community is a growing part of the immigrant community here in New York City. They are due the full respect and rights of other communities, and we will continue to do our part to make sure they know what their rights are.”
Mr. Nam and his nephews had performed construction and carpentry-related work on a residence in Manhattan this past February, but their employer refused to pay them any wages at all for their work after they had finished. This is believed to be the first-ever settlement on behalf of a Korean-Chinese worker for wage and hour violations. The Korean-Chinese community is one of the fastest-growing immigrant communities in the New York City area.
The AALDEF Korean Workers Project provides direct legal services free of charge to low-wage Korean immigrant workers. The Project also features community advocacy and educational activities in conjunction with YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community, a Queens-based community service organization.