Valley minimum wage workers fight for pay on Labor Day

Hector Guzman Lopez an organizer at Movimiento Del Valle says there's a lot of businesses here that are use to paying what they want as if there was no minimum wage.

The Organizer along with the Texas Rio Grande Aid held a conference on labor rights and abuse in South Texas.

Texas Rio Grande Aid Kathryn Youker spoke to Action 4 News about the event.

"You may not know it but equal labor rights and labor issues are a concern in the Valley," Yourker said.

She shares her experience about a client, a cook at a restaurant in Mission that worked about 70 hours a week and wasn't aware he was suppose to get paid for overtime. He told his boss and his boss says that

if you don't like it theres the door. He says he lost many hours with his family.

Some 70 percent of the complaints Kathryn says, come from the restaurant industry.

The next biggest group are construction companies and agricultural workers.

"It is going on in the valley we do have basically a free market of labor prices we have a heavy influx of immigrant labor who are willing to work for $2 dollars and hour because they are exploited," Yourker said.

She says cases have spiked due to the economic downturn. Companies are looking for ways to economize and cheap labor is one way to save money.

Organizers gathered to send a message. They say most people are afraid to speak up and are not aware of their labor rights.

But they hope today's message was clear.

"The law is clear you have to pay them for work, " Youker adds.

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