Less Than Expected: Minimum Wage Violations in San Francisco (Video)


Mauricio Lozano’s new workplace pays the San Francisco minimum wage of $10.55, but he fought his last employer to get back wages after being paid $8 because he was a “trainee.” Photo by Tearsa Joy Hammock/San Francisco Public Press

Mauricio Lozano, a Salvadoran immigrant, was paid below minimum wage to work at a North Beach pizzeria. With the help of local nonprofit organization, Young Workers United, and the San Francisco City Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, Lozano won his case, recovering his rightfully earned wages.

Lozano’s story is far from uncommon, say community organizers and city officials. Records show that San Francisco’s enormous food service sector is the worst for such violations. City records show that two-thirds of wages city inspectors recover for workers for minimum wage violations come from restaurants, coffee shops and other eateries.

Nationwide, 19.9 percent of all workers in food preparation and service occupations are paid below minimum wage, according to a recent estimate by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many undocumented immigrants find that because they have limited options in today’s depressed labor market, they must choose between a sub-minimum-wage job and no job at all. And after they are hired, many fear losing their jobs or even getting deported if they speak up.

Read the complete text version of this story which ran in the spring 2013 print edition of the Public Press: Restaurant Worker Paid Below Minimum Wage for ‘Training’

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