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2013 Worst Employer Announced

On August 8, the Fe Y Justicia Worker Center (FJWC) held their annual Gala at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Houston.  The event was a celebration of the Center’s accomplishments over the past year as well as a fundraiser to benefit their ongoing efforts to improve working conditions for low-wage workers in the Houston area.  Guests bid on auction items, had their photos taken in the photo booth, enjoyed a delicious meal and live mariachi music, listened to keynote speaker David Bacon, and learned how they could get involved in their community.  The evening ended, as always, with the announcement of the Worst Employer Award.

The Fe Y Justicia Worker Center, formerly known as the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center, is a non-profit community-based organization which advocates for improved working conditions and standards in the Houston-area.  Each year they select three of the most unethical cases of injustice to workers from the list of those they assisted with that year.  Guests at the gala are then given a ballot with descriptions of each case and are asked to vote for which employer performed the worst wrongdoing.  This year’s nominees included Full Service Construction, Inc., after company owner Fernando Chapa pulled out a gun and pointed it at community members who tried to appeal to his sense of morality after he successfully evaded Small Claims Court’s attempts to serve him.

Richard Shaw from the Harris County AFL-CIO announced the winner of the 2013 Worst Employer award.  In the 2 minute video below, you can hear his announcement.  He said,

“In Houston and Harris County there is about $750 Million that is stolen from workers, and it boils down to about 100 wage and hour violations per day on average.  That’s a lot of money.  This Worker Center has so far collected about $1.4 Million of that back.  One of the things that this Worker Center does best is that we hold people accountable.  Tonight all of you cast a vote.  You were presented with three employers. ...  The votes were close, but if you look at all the money on this sheet, it comes to about $35,000, which is probably a little higher than what the median income in Houston might be.

“We now have the winner, and the winner is the Worst Employer of the Year: Chavez Texas Investments, LLC, known as Fiesta Island Bar and Grill with owner Mike Chavez.  What makes this case kind of interesting is that Chavez Texas Investments managed to cheat three people.  Not only cheated one person, but cheated the entire family.  Tonight we have in the house Alma Hernandez and her husband Fernando.  They were some of the victims.  So Chavez Texas Investments, LLC are now the Worst Employer of the year, and we have to figure out how to get their award to them, don’t we?  Laura, how’s that Justice Bus doing?  We can take it for another round.  The Justice Bus is a lot of fun. 

“Nobody likes to see the Justice Bus coming, because it always goes where it needs to go when somebody is cheating somebody.”

You can read about the three nominees for Worst Employer by clicking on the photo below, and let us know how you would vote.


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