Public Advocacy Program
El Centro Humanitario advocates for the rights of low wage workers, non-standards workers, casual workers, and day laborers through policy change and public advocacy. For the past six years, El Centro actively participated in coaltion work to change laws in Colorado.
1. End Wage Theft Campaign: The End Wage Theft Campaign is a collective effort of the community to reduce wage exploitation of low wage, temporary and casual workers in Colorado through policy change and direct organizing. Speaheaded by El Centro and its coalition groups, the campaign secured the passage of a new Denver ordinance in 2005 that defines predatory employers as thieves and that gives Denver police officers the authority to arrest predatory employers and pursue civil and criminal pernalties. El Centro's wage claim project collaborates with private attorneys and the University of Denver, College of Law. Each year, El Centro aim to create a number of targetted wage theft campagins to educate the workers and to launch direct actions against predatory employers.
2. Increased penalty of wage theft: In June, 2007, El Centro and its coalition groups helped pass a statewide legislation that increases the penalty by 175 percent for employers who do not pay wages up to $7,500. By imposing the increased penalty for not paying wages, employers now face a more serious consequence for wage abuse of workers, if the intention of the employer is willful. This legislation also includes a section that workers would not have to pay an attorney's fee when they lose the case at a court. This legislation has been useful for our wage claim program to warn employers of the potential consequence when not responding to our demand letter regarding lost wages.
3. Research on the abuse of domestic workers in Colorado and research on redefining the definition of an independent contractor have been done in connection with university partners. Considering that domestic workers are excluded from major legal protection, El Centro aims to organize domestic workers and to create new legislation aiming to expand proection for one of the most vulnerable workforces in Colorado. The publication on the reality of domestic workers will be issued by a professor and students at the University of Colorado at Denver.
El Centro Humanitario
2260 California Street
Denver, CO 80205