De Blasio Promised that the NYPD Would Stop Policing Street Vendors. Mayor Adams Has Reversed Course

During the peak summer months, business is booming for Mohamed Awad, an Egyptian street vendor who operates a halal food stand at Hudson Yards. With so many tourists flooding the area, there is plenty of business for everyone. Instead of competing with one another, the food vendors cooperate with each other and Awad is their unofficial mayor. Although business is good, the vendors have found that the NYPD has become a major thorn in their side. Awad says he has received 75 tickets in the last si

U.S Open Workers Win Back Pay for Stolen Wages

A week after Documented first reported allegations made by three immigrant women who said they were not paid for work they did at the U.S. Open, the workers announced that they were finally being paid back wages, which they were owed for a year. Cecilia Valdés, who worked at the U.S Open in 2021, was in awe of how quickly she was able to be paid with the help of NICE, after a year of trying on her own. It was the first time she has ever engaged in political action in her life. “I feel so good

Healthcare Worker Union is Fighting a Bill that Would End 24 Hour Shifts for Home Health Aides

On a rainy Tuesday morning, nearly a hundred home care workers and their supporters gathered outside the gates of City Hall demanding an end to 24-hour work shifts. The group chanted “no more 24!” in anticipation of the hearing being held that day to discuss freshmen City Councilmember Christopher Marte’s bill to ban 24-hour shifts. Across the street, a smaller but equally as voracious crowd of demonstrators enthusiastically chanted “kill the bill.” The people demonstrating against the bill wer

U.S. Open Immigrant Workers Say Wages Were Stolen

Every year for two weeks between late August and early September, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is transformed into a glitzy playground for the U.S. Open. Tickets to tennis matches range between $93 to $8,807, and fans sip cold $22 Honey Deuce cocktails. The median income of U.S. Open attendees is about $182,000. But that glamor does not extend to the workers who keep the U.S. Open running. On Tuesday, 71-year-old Maria, her sister Luz, and

Migrants are Wrestling With the Complex Shelter System in NYC

It was almost midnight on Thursday, and Alexandra and Jorge were still not sure if they would be able to find a bed to sleep in that night. The migrants stood alone outside a shelter in Brooklyn, each clenching a blanket and carrying small backpacks with just a few belongings that remained from their nearly two-month-long journey from Venezuela and through the United States to NYC. It was the second shelter they had tried that day, after spending about five exhaustive hours enduring intake at t

As Asylum Seekers Arrive in NYC, Many Struggle to Get on Their Feet

On Wednesday morning, three busloads of immigrants pulled into one of the dingy corners of the NYC Port Authority bus terminal. The migrants waved from inside of the dark tinted bus windows while a crowd of reporters, volunteers, and city staff waited to greet them. Many of the migrants were primarily single Venezuelan men, but among them were also some families. They held only one or two grocery bags of belongings as they disembarked and entered the makeshift intake area inside the terminal wh

Newsrooms need to hire more working-class journalists —

“If you only have upper-class voices speaking for and to the country — in newspapers, magazines or in broadcasting — can you really say that those voices can fully articulate and understand the struggles and priorities of women who can’t feed their kids, or men who can’t heat their homes,” British journalist Terri White wrote in the New Statesman in 2019. “Journalism helps us to make sense of the world, of our place in it. But how can that be true for the working class if they aren’t shaping the

In the Summer Heat, UPS Warehouse Workers Endure Sweltering Working Conditions

For about nine years, Ian Malabre, a friendly 40-year-old Jamaican immigrant, has engaged in the back-breaking work of sorting packages at UPS’s Foster Avenue warehouse in Canarsie, Brooklyn, making just two dollars over the minimum wage. Despite working for the company for nearly a decade, they refuse to make him a full-time employee. Over the past few weeks, as the City baked in a heat wave, his general frustration with his low pay and too few hours has been exacerbated by the sweltering condi

NYC's Crackdown on Illegal Dirt Bikes Curbs Delivery Workers

When 24-year-old Emanuel Ponze woke up on a bright June morning, he was in a joyous mood. He had spent the night watching movies and drinking beer with his brothers and some friends, a well-deserved break from the 50 to 60-hour weeks he worked as a delivery worker for Doordash. When Ponze left his brother’s apartment in the Bronx to return home to his wife, he realized his moped was gone. Like most delivery workers, Ponze had feared that his moped would one day be stolen, so he had installed a

At Spectrum Cable, America's Longest Ongoing Strike Ended With Workers Unhappy

It’s difficult for 65-year-old Mario Munoz to remember what exactly he has been fighting for the last five years. When his union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, first called for a strike against his employer, Spectrum Cable, in 2017, the union said they would be fighting to preserve the worker’s medical and pension plan. Without the insurance, he would be forced to pay $800 a month for his wife’s medical expenses due to her struggles with chronic pain. Placing his f

Feds Say Bloods Took Over Fire-Clean Up Company That Worked Building Where Loot Went Missing

This piece was reported and published in a partnership between Documented and THE CITY. Members of the Bloods gang took over a Brooklyn-based fire clean-up company, using violence and extortion to profit off damaged buildings and inferno victims, federal prosecutors allege. Their targets included a Queens apartment building where a 2021 blaze displaced nearly 500 people in Jackson Heights. Dozens of former tenants at that address have asserted their belongings were burglarized, as reported by

For Fire Victims, a Year of Bedbugs, Mold, and Takeout at the Airway Inn

Less than a mile from LaGuardia Airport, on a stretch of Astoria Boulevard dotted with auto-repair shops, gas stations, and fast-food chains such as Popeyes, stale cigarette smoke permeates the hallways of the Airway Inn, and the carpets are blanketed in grime. Inside the motel room where 76-year-old Patricia Rivas and her 87-year-old husband, Antonio Rojas, have spent the past year, Rivas points at mold growing on the ceiling. In one corner, next to the television, the couple has set up a makes

Nail Salon, Anti Theft, Home Care: The Laws That Didn't Make It In 2022-

As New York’s topsy-turvy legislative session is set to end on Thursday, with a multitude of outstanding bills still left to debate, state lawmakers were forced to push the session into overtime, working well into Friday afternoon. Although some pro-worker bills managed to pass both the Senate and the Assembly, a slew of other bills have been left to languish, forcing their supporters to await yet another legislative cycle. Among the bills that failed to pass this session, the potential legisla

New York construction industry ‘flaggers’ allege rampant wage theft

This story is published in partnership with New York Focus. Victor Ballast was looking for a job. It was January of 2018, he had four children and a wife to support, and he’d had trouble finding work since moving back to the Bronx from Florida. A friend suggested he look into becoming a flagger, a worker who helps keep construction highway projects safe by directing traffic around work sites. Another friend said he was making $42 an hour as a flagger and was in a union. Ballast enrolled in a fl

Rapid Grocery Delivery Service Buyk Accused of Wage Theft by Former Workers

In early March, a co-worker shared with 28-year-old Michael Perez an alarming email from his employer, a Russian-funded, New York City-based ultra-fast grocery app called Buyk. Because of the severe sanctions against Russia, the letter announced, the company had lost access to its investors and was forced to furlough 98 percent of its workforce. For Perez, the letter was just one more disappointment in a long string he had experienced working for the company. “I was at a loss of words, to be h

Bronx Fire Survivors Say the City is Not Doing Enough

After Yadhira Rodriguez, her husband and two sons, lost their home in the Twin Parks fire in the Bronx on January 9, they found themselves in a bedbug-infested room at a Rodeway Inn hotel. The whole family was forced to share a single mattress. They had just survived a 9-alarm fire which had killed 17 of their neighbors, and they were sent to shelter by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Rodriguez and her son had been trapped in their apartment by the sm

The Hidden Costs of Containerization

This article appears in The American Prospect magazine’s February 2022 special issue, “How We Broke the Supply Chain.” Subscribe here. As the world celebrated the new year with family and friends, 23-year-old Filipino seafarer Vince Valeriano marked a dispiriting milestone. For over 15 months, the soft-spoken Valeriano and 22 of his fellow Filipino crewmates have been aboard Cyprus Sea Lines’ massive 54,000-ton MBSC Maria, without ever leaving the ship. This is their second consecutive holiday

Will the Nation’s Largest Urban University System Become Free?

Throughout the pandemic, 25-year-old Jada Shannon has found it challenging to juggle her online classwork with trying to survive a pandemic. A junior at Hunter College majoring in both media studies and women and gender studies, Shannon had hoped to graduate on time, but the pandemic upended her timeline. With in-class instruction resuming across the City University of New York’s (CUNY) 25 campuses this past fall, Shannon was excited to get back into the swing of things. However, when she went

After Initial Setback, Amazon Workers on Staten Island Refile for Union Election

On Wednesday morning, for the second time in three months, Staten Island Amazon workers hand-delivered signed cards to a National Labor Relations Board office in Brooklyn, petitioning that the board authorize a union vote. The refiling comes after six weeks of furious organizing by the Amazon Labor Union, which withdrew their previous petition in early November after they came up short on signed union authorization cards. This time, the union is targeting only the largest facility on Staten Isl

A Homeless Amazon Worker Tried to Organize a Union. Then Amazon Fired Him.

Since August, 25-year-old Daequan Smith has traveled most days from a homeless shelter in the Bronx to Amazon’s fulfillment center on Staten Island, where he worked unloading and sorting products. The trip required him to travel on the 4 or 5 train from the Bronx to lower Manhattan, cross New York Harbor on the Staten Island Ferry, and ride the S40 bus to its last stop in Bloomfield, the home of Amazon’s sprawling Staten Island campus. All in all, it could take Smith up to three hours to make th
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