OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Labor rights advocates in Oakland are celebrating what they call a big win against wage theft.
"I think, in general, a lot of what's considered low-wage work is vulnerable," says Emylene Aspilla, director of the City of Oakland's Department of Workplace and Employment Standards, or DWES.
The department found that the Radisson Hotel in Oakland is responsible for wage theft exceeding $400,000 and involving 128 employees.
"Congratulations to the workers for getting what is rightfully theirs!" says Yulisa Elenes with UNITE-HERE Local 2. "Wage theft and unsafe work conditions are still rampant here in Oakland, especially in Hegenberger and the non-union hotels."
The city found that the Radisson Hotel is in violation of not paying the necessary minimum wage between July, 2019, and April, 2020. DWES says this is the largest dollar amount and the greatest number of workers to be included in a wage theft determination.
"That we are able, today, to have a determination is really to help voters, workers know that we taking this seriously," says Aspilla.
Employee activists believe their advocacy work around worker rights, led the workers to come forward.
"I think it is that awareness that really helped people know that, well, 'OK that is not what I am getting. I should talk to someone,'" says Aspilla.
In a statement to ABC7 News, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao praised the outcome. "It's just basic common sense - workers should be paid for the work they do. Period," she writes.
Activists are hoping that employees in other sectors will come forward as well.
"This work is not done," says Isaiah Toney, deputy director of Campaigns with EBASE, which works for economic and social justice. "It is a tiny fraction of the folks that are impacted by wage theft or who are mistreated by their employers."
The Radisson Hotel Group did not respond to a request for comment. The city says the hotel can appeal the decision. It could also face further legal action by the city.
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