Legal Aid forces cable company to investigate immigrant pay

Legal Aid forces cable company to investigate immigrant pay

Under pressure from immigrants rights groups including the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center, the Internet and cable provider Verizon Communications announced yesterday that it might bar certain of its contractors from work if it finds   they withheld pay from immigrant laborers who dug trenches for the company’s fiber optic cables in the Washington area. The concession came a day before protests that are scheduled to happen today in front of the company’s D.C. headquarters.

The Justice Center along with CASA and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs have pressed Verizon on the issue since 2006 with little success so far. The cable company typically hires contractors who then hire subcontractors who hire immigrant labor, thus creating a couple degrees of separation for Verizon when it comes to the unpaid immigrants. "Verizon has known about these problems for some time," said Tim Freilich, a lawyer with the Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program. "They need to ensure payment now."

Legal Aid’s Tim Freilich says Verizon needs to pay its immigrant labor now.

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