SoHo Retailer Pays $950,000 to Workers in Wage Theft Settlement

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For Immediate Release: December 18, 0212
Yana Walton, Retail Action Project Communications Director
O: 646-490-5925 C: 646-453-9816
E-mail: yana@retailactionproject.org

MEDIA ADVISORY: SoHo Retailer Pay $950,000 to Workers
in Wage Theft Settlement

NYS Attorney Generals’ Office Disburses Checks at the Retail Action Project on Thursday 12/20

New York, NY:  On Thursday, December 20th, over a hundred current and former retail employees of Mystique Boutique will receive back wages through a $950,000 wage theft settlement obtained by the New York State Office of the Attorney General which investigated workers’ claims of non-payment of minimum wage and overtime.  This settlement includes funds for restitution as well as independent monitoring for ongoing compliance with wage and hour laws.

“My office will vigorously enforce our state’s labor laws and ensure that workers receive the compensation they are legally owed,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “While my office is pleased to distribute this money to these workers, especially during the holiday season, we know that there are many corporations that violate our state’s labor laws, and we will continue to seek justice for other workers who are illegally underpaid.”

Workers brought their claims to the NYS OAG through a campaign to clean up illegal labor practices in retail chains on Broadway in SoHo initiated by the Retail Action Project (RAP), working in partnership with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW). RAP is a membership organization of retail workers dedicated to improving workplace standards in the industry.

Workers from seven stores will receive settlement checks from representatives of NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office at the RAP offices from 2pm to 7pm on Thursday.

Carolina Ferreyra, a former Mystique Boutique employee of two years, led her co-workers through the process of filing their claims. She explained, “Mystique thought they could get away with violating the law because many of us are young immigrants. But we came together and exercised our right to fair and legal wages. My days of working 60-70 hours a week with no overtime, raises, or respect are over, and today I’m thrilled to be finally getting back what I’ve earned.”

RAP’s Executive Director, Carrie Gleason, stated, “Today justice is served as workers from Mystique join other retail workers on Broadway who have claimed their stolen wages from Scoop NYC, Yellow Rat Bastard, and Shoemania.” Phil Andrews, Director of the Retail Organizing Project at the RWDSU, added, “SoHo is an important part of the city’s retail economy. When retailers like Mystique pay below minimum wage, they hurt standards for all retail workers.”

When: Thursday, December 20 from 2pm to 7pm
Where: 140 West 31st Street, 2nd Floor (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)
What: Wage Theft Settlement Check Distribution for Mystique Boutique Workers
Who: Retail workers from Mystique Boutique, NYS OAG, leaders from the Retail Action Project and the RWDSU’s Retail Organizing Project

Workers who have received back wages will be available for interview at the RAP office throughout the day. Please contact Yana Walton at yana@retailactionproject.org or646.453.9816.

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The Retail Action Project (RAP) is an organization of retail workers dedicated to improving opportunities and workplace standards in the retail industry.

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