Unidad Latina en Acción and Casa Freehold are protesting to demand payment of the wages Dr. Magdy Phillip stole from three day laborers in NJ. After hiring these workers for a renovation job, Dr. Philip refused to pay $1700 of what he had promised. He refuses to provide coherent justification or evidence to support his failure to pay, and he has attacked these workers with racist vitriol for demanding what they are owed, calling them “lazy” and denigrating their struggle by labelling it as “third world country tactics”. On Saturday 1/30, ULA NJ, Casa Freehold, Unions and workers rights organizations protested outside his office and told him that immigrant workers deserve better.
According to statistics compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, some 2.4 million wage theft victims lose some $8 billion dollars per year. The real numbers are much higher, as these statistics represent findings in only ten states. Yet, it is a crime rarely prosecuted by the law. Because the victims are often undocumented who lack access to proper legal representation and access, employers bank on these circumstances to profit from what amounts to free labor — unpaid worked hours. This is why ULA is using protests as a means of redress.
The pandemic continues to rage through the winter, and infection rates in New Jersey are spiking rapidly. Streams of income have dried up for all across the state. Without a shred of support from the federal, state, or local governments, too many undocumented families are going hungry. Stealing wages from workers is unconscionable under any circumstances, but at a time like this, it is exceptionally cruel. Now as ever, ULA will not stop fighting to make sure immigrant workers across the state get what they are owed. Protesters assembled in front of Dr. Phillip’s home with a couple of inflatable rats to let him know that he is wrong, and to send a message to employers everywhere that immigrant workers are organized, empowered, and ready to fight exploitation wherever it occurs.