VIDA Only Texas Organization to Secure $3M Nursing Expansion Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor
"As of now, [Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement] VIDA has graduated over 4000 students with an average salary of about $48,000 a year. Lifting our community, our families from poverty, depending on welfare to be self sustaining, to get out of poverty and bringing about dignity and respect to their families and bringing about an opportunity for the next generation to do better than themselves. That's what Valley Interfaith has done."
-Eddie AnayaRead more
In small group conversations organized through their congregations, Valley Interfaith leaders Elisa Alfaro of Holy Spirit parish and Dayra Campos of San Juan Diego kept hearing the same stories: workers in cold storage facilities earning less than the minimum wage and experiencing rampant labor abuse.
While the federal minimum wage is $7.25, parishioners shared that they are often paid less than half that by McAllen producers. When one company closed access to the bathroom for employees, they were forced to walk 10 minutes to a gas station for their bathroom break. Another parishioner shared constant threats by their boss if they were to admit to working 10 hours per day for $600 per month (less than half the minimum wage).
In response, Valley Interfaith leaders are calling on the City of McAllen to ensure that no company that pays workers under the minimum wage, or is guilty of wage theft, receives incentives from the city. They are also calling on the City to investigate abusive labor practices. Leaders are now meeting with the McAllen Economic Development Corporation and McAllen City Manager about making these changes.
"Nobody should earn a slave wage," said Elisa Alfaro.
[Image Credit: KVEO footage]
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