PGCPS Committed Wage Theft. DOL Stole their Dreams!
The recent settlement reached by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) over PGCPS’s violations of the H1B temporary foreign worker program is twice victimizing the teachers whose wages were illegally reduced.
Tell the DOL that these teachers should not be punished with job loss and deportation because of their employer’s willful failure to comply with the law.
Stand with these teachers whose actions helped safeguard American workers’ wages!
For more information go visit: http://www.pen-usa.org
Photo Credit: Paul i. Tañedo, Copyright 2011
The Honorable Hilda L.Solis
Secretary of Labor
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW
Dear Madame Secretary:
I am writing to voice my concern over the announced settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) in which PGCPS was found to be a willful violator of the laws that govern the H-1B temporary foreign worker visa program.
Although I am pleased that the foreign teachers will be paid all the back wages to which they are entitled, I find the penalty of debarment of PGCPS from participating in any employment-based immigration program unfairly punishes the very teachers who were victims of PGCPS's willful violations. The DOL's "remedy" effectively means the termination of their jobs regardless of seniority or performance, and an abrupt end of their lawful presence in the United States. It is outrageously unjust that the full impact of the penalty imposed on an employer for violating the law is borne by the victims.
I worry that the debarment will act as a deterrent for other foreign temporary workers in similar circumstances from reporting violations. I see this aspect of the decision more akin to retaliatory action against workers who initiate complaints against their employer. This kind of ruling would be welcomed by employers who aim to terminate employees who stand up against them.
For these reasons, I respectfully appeal to the DOL to exercise discretion and allow PGCPS to continue employment-based sponsorship of these teachers to ensure their lawful presence in the U.S.
Lastly, it is important to note that PGCPS students have made significant progress in no small part by these highly-qualified foreign teachers who have provided an exceptional level of service to the county's public schools. They are committed to serve and fulfill the promise that no child will be truly left behind academically in this country. It would be a great disservice to these students if outstanding teachers were lost on account of PGCPS's willful failure to comply with the law.
I trust that you will seriously consider my appeal so that PGCPS's foreign teachers can benefit from a fair and equitable treatment that every worker in the U.S. deserves.
my representative in the U.S. House and Senate
Seth D. Harris, Deputy Secretary
Elizabeth Kim, Executive Secretariat Director
Philip Tom, Director of CFBNP