The Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition is a co-sponsor of AB 3075 (Gonzalez), a bill that prevents companies who don’t pay wage theft judgments from reopening under a new name to avoid paying what they owe. Thanks to our South Bay contingent including Ma Teresa Brillante who told her story so effectively and the organizations who signed letters and provided “me too” statements of support at the committee meeting including Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)Day Worker Center of Mountain ViewSomos MayfairLUNA – Latinos United for a New AmericaSan Jose/Silicon Valley NAACPFight for $15Vietnamese American RoundtableMaiz San Jose and PAWIS. #PayUpBeforeYouStartUp
SEIU California
For Immediate Release
May 19, 2020
Contact: Mike Roth, 916.813.1554
Maria Elena Jauregui, Spanish-language, 818.355.5291

Assembly Banking Committee Tells Unscrupulous Businesses:
“Pay Up Before You Start Up”

Passes AB 3075 to prevent wage theft as economy re-opens

Sacramento, CA — The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California today applauded the Assembly Banking Committee’s approval of AB 3075 (Gonzalez) by a more than 2-1 margin. The bill prevents companies who’ve exploited the global pandemic to cheat their workers from reopening under a new name to avoid paying what they owe their employees.

“Since March, workers across California – low-wage workers, workers of color, and immigrant workers, have been laid off and are still owed back pay; they must be paid every cent that is owed them. As our economy reopens, we must make sure to close the loopholes that allow the minority of unscrupulous employers to cheat workers,” said David Huerta, president of SEIU United Service Workers West and an SEIU California executive board member.

Wage theft occurs when bosses cheat workers out of hours worked, don’t pay the minimum wage or deny overtime pay. Employers use these tactics to steal an estimated $2 billion per year from their workers each year in California, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Workers like Tess and Luz Maria who work in low-wage jobs and workers who are Black, brown and API workers face higher levels of exploitation.

One reason just 17% of workers who’ve received a court judgment in their favor secure any repayment is that it is easy to simply close up shop and open under a new name. AB 3075 begins to remedy this by requiring anyone who wishes to incorporate to sign an affidavit attesting that they don’t have any outstanding wage judgments.

Too many businesses who closed up shop in the pandemic sent workers home without their last paychecks – and shouldn’t be allowed to re-open until those workers are made whole.

“We are struggling in my community and barely surviving,” said Rosa Lopez, a janitor from San Diego. “Any time a boss steals money from a low-wage worker, it’s hard – but now, in this pandemic, it is a catastrophe. Anyone who has stolen from workers should not be allowed to reopen under a new name.”