A film created by CSUEB students is teaching day laborers how to document their work in a special booklet.
Cal State East Bay criminal justice administration students have provided the Hayward Day Labor Center with a video to inform day laborers on protecting themselves against wage theft and other forms of exploitation.
Alejandro Galindo, job developer and legal advocate for the center, says the film is so successful that similar organizations across the country are already asking for a similar video to address their needs.
Silvina Ituarte, professor and chair of CSUEB's Criminal Justice Administration Department, learned of this need from consulting with Galindo, and offered a Day Laborer Center project to her student this fall in the “Prejudice, Violence and Hate Crimes” (CRJA 4330) class.
Criminal justice majors Joshua Chavez, Ramneet Dhillon, Robert Huerta, Andreina Leon, Kristen Martin, Vinh Nguyen, Jagdeep Singh, Jaclyn Skinner, Helen Luu and Bryant Weatheroy created the film in about six weeks, with the leadership of Huerta, who owns a film company.
The center knew it needed a campaign to train workers how to prevent wage theft, inform them of their rights, and of the vindication process. It was the students, according to Galindo, who came up with the idea of the Spanish language video.
Galindo was impressed with the students’ initiative.
“They explained to me that a video could illustrate some of the common scenarios under which the theft of wages takes place, and that these scenarios would serve to compare and contrast the cases in which we can help the workers, because we have enough information to prosecute the employer and cases in which we cannot,” said Galindo.
Whereas the labor code can be intimidating and seem contradictory, the students devised a simple way to cover the key points as a list of do’s and don’ts.
“Being an immigrant worker from a poor community in Mexico or Guatemala is one thing, but having a group of university students advocate and focus on their needs, is a clear statement of care and compassion,” said Galindo.
Ituarte and the students were invited to present the film to the workers, so that the university community could meet the population they served, and the workers could be face-to-face with those who worked on their behalf.
“The Criminal Justice Administration Department at Cal State East Bay prides itself in producing compassionate, ethical, and proficient justice professionals who begin their contributions to community needs through meaningful class projects," Ituarte said.
Galindo says the video is also helping the workers understand the importance of a pocket-size booklet they’re been given to document identification data on an employer, the job site, times worked, names, etc.
“When we have to go to court to vindicate the rights of one of our workers, we will use that booklet as evidence," Galindo said. "If the booklet is habitually used as a recording mechanism, it will be deemed admissible evidence in court. The video explains all of this.”
The Hayward Day Labor Center, located at 680 West Tennyson Road, enables low-income, predominantly migrant workers in the East Bay Area, to reach self-sufficiency through employment and community integration programs. The also may view the film.