It's payday. Workers gather in the office to pick up their checks. But there won't be any checks today - at least not for everyone. The big boss says there will be a lottery, and whoever wins will get paid. Don't get your number pulled? Sorry. You may have worked a 40-hour week, but you won't see your wages.
Sound ridiculous? A group of Chicago health care workers allege that
their employer, ASI, is routinely paying their wages late and pulling
stunts like the lottery. Workers say ASI has paid wages late more than
50 percent of the time over the last year.
ASI workers will demonstrate at 5 p.m. today in front of ASI offices, 2619 W. Armitage, in protest of their late paychecks.
Workers say that sometimes management just chooses who they think most needs to be paid on time
and distributes paychecks to those people. Workers say they're
scrambling to pay their bills on time as a result.
ASI, a home health care company in Logan Square, provides aide to senior citizens who live independently at home. Arise Chicago,
a workers' rights group in Chicago, says that ASI receives millions of
tax dollars from the state of Illinois to provide these services. ASi workers are being helped in the protest by Arise Chicago and SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana.
Director Rebecca Cruz tells us that employees are sometimes paid late, but
she says the situation is out of her hands. The state owes her company
money and is behind in payments.
"The state is late paying,"
says Cruz. "Ninety-five percent of our income comes from them. The last
payment that we received is from them was in May."
she's never held a lottery to see who would get paid. She says she's
gone without a paycheck many times, as have her office workers, because
she tries to pay the aides first.
Cruz says that the
complaints come from workers that are being pushed by Arise Chicago to
unionize, and not from the majority of her workers.