Fe y Justicia Worker Center
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When Mirella Nava began her new job at Rock Wool Manufacturing Company in Houston, Texas, she had no intentions of becoming an advocate for worker safety. But when she witnessed how fellow workers were being treated and the dangerous work conditions they faced on a daily basis, she felt compelled to speak up.
Two years ago, domestic workers in Houston, Texas, took part in the first national survey documenting the conditions they face on the job. The experience — a process of shedding light on the often isolating and invisible world of domestic work — was so moving that Houston workers decided they didn’t want to stop there. Instead, they decided it was time to put their personal stories to paper.
This week, Houston became only the second major city in the U.S. South to pass a law to prevent and punish wage theft. It’s a major victory for all workers, but it’s especially significant for the city’s low-wage workers, who lose an estimated $753.2 million every year because of wage theft.
Members of Houston’s City Council held a public hearing this week to discuss a proposed ordinance to beef up sanctions against companies who don’t pay employees their lawfully owed wages. Penalties will include a prohibition from getting city contracts, permits and licenses.