This morning, two members of our worker justice program were each awarded $5,000, for a total of $10,000, in wage claims and liquidative damages by a Polk County small claims judge.
The wage claim case, prosecuted by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), sought to retrieve $6,166 in wages stolen by Concept Painting & Drywall, owned by Randy Warrens.
Iowa CCI organized with the two workers and used many avenues before IWD brought the case before a judge. We delivered a letter to Randy Warrens at his house in January asking for a meeting, which Randy refused. We met with the general contractor on the case, Hubbell Homes, after which they told Randy to stop making his problem their problem. And we brought up the Concept Painting & Drywall case with the Commissioner of Labor Michael Mauro in a meeting in February.
Despite having met yesterday with IWD’s prosecuting attorney Mitchell Mahan, and speaking with him this morning, Warrens failed to appear at today’s hearing. The judge examined the evidence and claims brought by the workers and IWD. In addition to the evidence, seeing that Warrens defaulted on the hearing, the judge concluded that each of the workers should be awarded the sum of $5,000 for liquidative damages. Warrens will also be responsible for all court fees.
“With this victory, employers like Randy will know that workers are not just going to sit down and take abuse,” said Jose, one of the affected workers and an Iowa CCI member. “We will not accept anything other than justice.”
Though it is possible that Concept Painting & Drywall may set aside the default, the judge seemed convinced in standing for worker justice and awarding the workers for their rightful claims.
This win shows that the one-two punch of community organizing and a government that works for people will deliver justice!
Iowa CCI’s worker justice program unites and empowers the community to stand against worker abuse and fight for what’s right. CCI members incessantly work against violations on the job and wage theft. To this day, Iowa CCI has recovered over $135,000 in stolen wages across Iowa.
Click “LIKE” and “SHARE” to spread the good news and stand for worker justice!