The Micah Centers’ work on wage theft goes back to 2010 when we asked Mayor Heartwell to appoint a task force to study the extent to which wage theft is a problem in Grand Rapids. After interviewing hundreds of workers and collecting dozens of stories, we created a documentary featuring a few of those stories and used the documentary to build community support for a policy that would ensure that no business convicted of wage theft in the last two years would be eligible for city contracts. In late 2012 the Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously approved that proposal.
Then, in 2014 the Micah Center was able to start a workers’ center with much training and support from Interfaith Worker Justice. Gema Lowe, workers’ center organizer, along with her team of leaders have trained hundreds of workers on wage and hour and health and safety rights. In addition, a number of wage injustice cases, including wage theft, have been resolved through their work.
Currently the Workers’ Center is working to end the exploitation of discount buffet workers. Through their outreach in the community, workers’ center members learned that these workers often work 12-14 hour days, 6 or 7 days a week for an amount in cash that, when you do the math, doesn’t even reach minimum wage.
Interested in learning more? Contact Gema Lowe@ (616) 323-8393 or email@example.com.
You can also check out the trailer for the documentary workers’ center members have made about the discount buffet workers here:
Workers’ Center members celebrate with worker who just recovered stolen wages!