For 11-Hour Days, Nearly No Overtime and Hundreds in Unpaid Wages
New York—Mr. Xiao Wei Lu, an immigrant from China, has received $1,400 from his former employer, a Brooklyn-based Chinese food manufacturing company, in a settlement reached by his attorney Steven Choi of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) Korean Workers Project, with help from YKASEC—Empowering the Korean American Community.
At the companys factory, Mr. Lu worked an average of 11 hours a day, six days a week, doing heavy lifting and factory line work until January 2006. But Mr. Lus average hourly wage of $4.14 fell far below the New York State-mandated minimum wage of $6.00 per hour in 2005 and $6.75 per hour in 2006. He also received practically no overtime, and never received spread of hour wages—a legally-required compensation for each day a worker is obligated to work more than 10 hours a day. The company also owed Mr. Lu more than $600 in unpaid wages by the time he left the company. A resident of Flushing, Queens, Mr. Lu contacted the office of New York City Council Member John C. Liu, which in turn contacted YKASEC and AALDEF for legal assistance.
Said Korean Workers Project Director Choi, “Mr. Lus employer immediately recognized the importance of initiating settlement talks as soon as we expressed our concerns about the labor law violations in his case, and avoided a lawsuit. We are happy to have reached a settlement that recovered what Mr. Lu is rightfully owed for his promised wages and the required overtime wages.”
Said Mr. Lu, “When workers realize that their rights have been violated, they should be brave, protect themselves, and stand up for themselves through legal means. After going through this experience, I am grateful for the help that John Liu’s office, my lawyer at AALDEF, Steve Choi, and YKASEC gave me.”