The service provider at the UFW Foundation explained to us that all employers in California must pay the minimum wage of $8.00 per hour, whether we were working by piece-rate or by the hour. He explained to us about the wage claim process and how we could file a complaint so that the contractor would pay us the minimum wage. We all became members of the UFW Foundation and the UFW Foundation filed wage claims for our boss's failure to pay the minimum wage. We received UFW Foundation ID cards and were enrolled to receive a death benefit for our families in case of an accident at work. We learned about our rights at work and got materials to share with the other people at work about our rights as undocumented workers in California.
In April of this year we had a hearing at the labor commissioner's office. The UFW Foundation service provider came with us to the initial conference and represented us before the labor commissioner. With his help, I was able to recover over $1,000 that the contractor owed me in back wages and unpaid overtime. With the money I recovered, I was able to start my own business, and now I only work in the fields to earn extra money during the slow season. I am still a member of the UFW Foundation and they have continued to help me whenever I have questions about my rights, or what I have to do to follow the law, and how I can prepare for changes in immigration law that would give me and my fellow farm workers the right to work and live here legally. Most importantly, I proved to my co-workers and my employer that even though we don't have papers, we still have rights and we can still get justice.”