Mar 07, 2016 08:47 AM EST

Smartphone App – U.S. Day Laborers’ New Weapon To Fight Wage Theft

An immigrant group in Jackson Heights is set to unveil a smartphone app that will benefit day laborers in the United States. With this new app, laborers will be able to rate employers such as Yelp or Uber and protect their wages.

This app was in development for about three years by immigrant workers who were constantly cheated by employers with regards to their wages. By using this app on their smartphones, workers will be empowered in their battle against wage theft.

Apart from rating their employers, this smartphone app can also help workers to take camera shots of job sites, help identify employers with histories of withholding wages, and determine the color and make of a car.

The app will also allow them to send instant alerts to their fellow workers.  To safeguard sensitive information and to arrange for the payment processes, the developer of the app is working with lawyers.

Wage theft is the illegal withholding of salaries and denial of essential benefits to workers by an employer or a company.

In a report that came out in Aug. 30, 2014, David Weil, Federal Labor Department Director for wage and hours division found out that wage theft is then increasing in the United States.

"We have a change in the structure of work that is then compounded by a falling level of what is viewed as acceptable in the workplace in terms of how you treat people and how you regard the law," stated Weil.

Weil's agency has discovered almost $1 billion representing illegally unpaid wages starting in 2010. Most of the victimized workers were immigrants. This condition apparently hasn't stopped, leading to the development of this new wage theft app.

The smartphone app was developed by Omar Trinidad, a Mexican immigrant worker and the lead organizer in the development of the app. He called the app "Jornalero" meaning day laborer in Spanish. Trinidad is planning to distribute the app to the 70 day laborer stops in the city.

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