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Contact: Ryan Kekeris, 410-564-5884, firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Tito Contractors workers and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 51 win back pay and immigration relief due to unfair labor practices committed by Tito Contractors management
Former employees of Tito Contractors win back pay and immigration relief after nearly a decade of organizing with IUPAT District Council 51
LANHAM, MD – A group of largely immigrant workers recently prevailed on their claims that their employer, Tito Contractors, Inc. (“Tito”), unlawfully retaliated against them when they filed suit to force Tito to comply with federal wage-hour laws and to form a union. After the workers acted to stand up for themselves, Tito retaliated by firing some workers, denying others overtime and threatening others with discharge or calling immigration authorities on they or their family members.
With the help of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 51 (“IUPAT”), the workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor relations Board (“NLRB”). The NLRB, affirmed by the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, found merit in those charges and ordered Tito to make its victims whole. Tito continued to dispute the amount of back pay owed, only recently agreeing to pay $250,000 in back pay to nine workers. The settlement agreement also requires Tito to expunge any record of the unlawful discipline against its employees, and to issue letters of apology signed by its owner, Maximo “Tito” Pierola.
Significantly, during the course of the litigation the NLRB applied for special work visas, called U-visas, for the workers who were retaliated against. U-visas may be granted to victims of specific violations of federal law, and they typically include work authorization.. Equally important, the NLRB and the Department of Homeland Security worked together to protect the workers from immigration related retaliation.
IUPAT General President Jim Williams hailed the decision as a rare, but hopeful, case of federal agencies cooperating to protect worker rights. “This case shows that federal law will protect all workers who stand up for themselves. Hopefully, it will serve as a model for protecting immigrant workers from abuse and restoring their faith that the system can and does work.” General President Williams also praised the courage of the workers. “This brave group of men and women understood the risks they took, but they believed that they needed to fight to protect themselves and their families. I applaud their courage.” He also thanked Jobs with Justice and the AFL-CIO, “who both provided significant support to the workers throughout this fight for simple workplace justice.”
THE INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES (IUPAT)
Represents a growing community of over 140,000 active and retired craftspeople in the United States and Canada. The IUPAT membership extends far beyond the workplace. Recognized as one of the most active unions in the labor movement, IUPAT members help shape their communities in many ways: through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families, and through effective worker education and mobilization.
Visit www.iupat.org to learn more.