Youth Wage Fairness Project
The Wage Fairness Project is a group of five students and a project of PUEBLO. Our goal is to interview day laborers in East Oakland about wage theft, which is when employers underpay workers, pay them late, or do not pay them at all for their labor and create laws to protect them. The Wage Fairness Project is a group of five students and a project of PUEBLO.
Participating youth have created a bilingual survey on wage theft for day laborers in East Oakland, interview day laborers (54 to date), learned how to input data into SurveyMonkey and created a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter to promote the project and their findings (visit there website here: http://wagefairness.wordpress.com/). They are currently meeting with experts in wage and hour law to brainstorm policy proposals for the City of Oakland.
Soon, the Wage Fairness Project youth will analyze the results of the survey and eet with community leaders and local organizations to create policy recommendations and present them to Oakland City Council.
Youth have many goals in the project. Project leaders Kim and Gloria “Jack” Mejía-Cuellar, who first began their involvement with PUEBLO as Oakland Youth Policy Builders and Youth Greening Oakland, created the project with the support of Executive Director Rashidah Grinage.
Jack wanted to take on this project to help her East Oakland community and increase Latino representation in politics. Kim hopes to attend law school and be an advocate for and empower underserved communities – this project is helping her gain the skills necessary to be a driving force in policy.
“I want to raise awareness about some of the negative conditions many day laborers face in Oakland,” said staff member Jazmin García.
Mónica Villa became interested in this project because “as a teenager living in Oakland, one is aware of the risk day laborers take in order to provide enough money to their families and often are not given the respect and treatment that they deserve.”
“I saw the project as an opportunity to learn from her community and to be part of the change that Proyecto Para el Sueldo Justo [the Wage Fairness Project] is going to make,” said Jhovana Pérez.
The project will run in East Oakland, California. from July to late August, 2013. The Wage Fairness Project is funded by a mini-grant from East Oakland Building Healthy Communities (EOBHC). EOBHC is a 10 year initiative (2010 – 2013) to make sure East Oakland residents have access to health services, safe and improved neighborhoods and better jobs. For more information on EOBHC, visit: http://www.eobhc.com/
The Wage Fairness Project
Kim Mejía-Cuéllar, second year at Yale University
Gloria “Jack” Mejía-Cuéllar, second year at Yale University
Jhovana Pérez, third year at Laney College
Jazmin García, second year at University of California, Berkeley
Mónica Villa, senior at American Indian Public High School