Immigrant workers suffer most of the worst abuses in the restaurant industry and describe being yelled at, verbally abused, called racial slurs, hit, pushed and generally disrespected by managers. Employers flagrantly exploit immigrant workers by paying lower wages, giving fewer benefits and demanding harder work and longer hours. Immigrant workers suffer the most egregious violations of basic laws protecting workers such as meal and rest periods, overtime pay, minimum wage, or payment for all hours worked. Immigrant workers are often intimidated into working with injuries or not applying for workmen’s compensation or unemployment benefits.
Punitive immigration laws combined with racism and segregation create a whole host of issues for immigrant restaurant workers. As a result, YWU formed a Spanish-speaking Comite de Justicia para Trabajadores to deal with the particular issues of immigrant workers. The CJT addresses workplace problems as well as immigrant rights issues.