FNM Executive Director, Gihan Perera, was quoted in the Orland Sentinel article "South Florida business owners disagree about hiking minimum wage" published February 16th. 

Gihan Perera, the executive director of community activist group Florida New Majority, said many low-wage workers in South Florida are women supporting their families. Often, these workers are "hobbling two or three minimum-wage jobs in order to make one job with a living wage," he said.

Read the full article here.

Category: FNM in the News

That was my feeling after walking the streets of Broward with Sharena and Flavia, two of Florida New Majority’s canvassers who are mobilizing voters for tomorrow’s election.

Almost every day during the last month, Sharena and Flavia, as well as 10 other canvassers, laced up their walking shoes and knocked on doors of African-Americans, Haitians and Latinos. Saying what? Vote! But not jut for the sake of voting, or for a specific candidate. This time, they are asking voters to vote for workers rights and immigrant rights.

FNM is advocating for unemployment compensation reform in order to protect those workers who lost their job in this difficult times. Also, we are trying to stop anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB1070 from coming to our state. But we know that to make real changes we need to organize voters to not only vote but take action after election day.

Sharena and Flavia’s best line when they are at the doors encouraging people to vote. “The majority of the folks that I talk to are either unemployed, immigrant or come from an immigrant family”, says Flavia. “So, when they try to close the door, I have a good argument to get their attention for a minute. At the end, many even get into good conversations with me and they like that we talk about voting for their rights”.

It’s like an invitation to vote for themselves, for their families, their neighbors, for you and for me, for all of us. “The response has been very good, probably because we are new in this area, or because people are more receptive than we thought” says Sharena. “Sometimes even the neighbors tell us: ‘why don’t you come to my door?!’”

So far, the effort is paying off. The team has talked face-to-face with close to 1,000 potential voters and 78% have said yes, they will vote or participate!!! That doesn’t sound like the Broward many think it is… a county where people only go to sleep, or where many voted for Obama but don’t want to vote again. Not at all.

That day with Sharena and Flavia, I saw many Broward residents saying they already voted or they were going to. We even stopped at the house of a nurse who actually got in the car after we left to go vote early. And the most amazing thing is that our canvassers get to see this every day. Out of 10 doors they knock, at least 1 encourages them to continue under the sun, avoiding unfriendly dogs, walking the streets of Broward.

Enthusiasm gap in Broward? We are making sure that’s not the case. See you at the polls!

Category: Canvassing

I would get really angry, and then, very worried. How will I pay rent and bills, buy food or gas? Basic things. It is certainly a problem. But, imagine that someone steals your pay check continuously, week by week. And what is worse, the thief is your own boss! That is Rudy’s story.

Rudy Xutuc is a gardener and landscaper who worked at a nursery in Homestead. His boss started delaying his weekly salary little by little, until he finally stopped paying. When the total amount owed reached $4,800, Rudy asked for the money he earned with hard work, but the employer refused to pay.

Don’t get confused, this story does have a happy ending. Thanks to a Wage Theft Ordinance that the Miami-Dade County Commission approved earlier this year, Rudy was able to file a claim through a the Department of Small Business Development and … the employer had to pay back every cent!!!

This has been happening for a very long time to many Floridian workers. Not only when employers don’t pay the salaries their workers have fairly earned, but also when workers are paid below the minimum wage, not paid for overtime, forced to work off the clock, have their time cards altered or are misclassified as independent contractors.

And this problem affects almost everyone, from restaurant employees and agricultural workers, to teachers, accountants and architects.

According to a research done by RISEP, what is most impressive is that, between September 2008 until March 2010, there has been a total loss of close to $4 million in unpaid wages!

That’s why Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners declared today, November 18th, as the Day Against Wage Theft. So we can remember every year that wage theft is not acceptable in Miami-Dade.

And all this has been possible thanks to the South Florida Wage Theft task Force. Congratulations!!

Category: Florida