New federal workers rights program arrives in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Southern California program that helps Spanish speaking workers with work related questions or problems is now officially offering their services to the Fresno area.

A new federal workers-rights program has arrived in Fresno. Empleo started in Southern California in 2004. "We've collected over 15 million in back wages to low wage workers, a little bit over 11,000 low wage workers who at once, did not know where to turn to," said Priscilla Garcia, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

"There are a lot of agencies and people don't always know who am I supposed to call with this particular problem this Empleo program provides a kind of one stop shopping," said Rick Newton, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. Problems can range, from not getting paid full wages or overtime, to discrimination or sexual abuse. And they persist in the agricultural fields of the Central Valley. Where fieldworkers must work but don't know how to fight back against abuse.

Brian Angus, the CEO of Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission said, "It's really those that struggle at the bottom that need the help the most. And that's folks that struggle with english, and folks that struggle with not being full citizens yet. And that's why we're here."

Angus signed the Empleo agreement. He saysFresno area farmworkers deserve living wages, and his non-profit agency will help get the word out on the new number to call. 1-877-55-Ayuda, which means help in spanish. Which will translate to relief for anyone who calls.
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