Historically, MLOV has organized a 30-member strong Committee representing the District’s only immigrant-led worker base organizing for the successful implementation of wage theft, paid sick days and other worker rights protections. That committee has grown to almost 100 workers, including a large number of DC street vendors.
Each year MLOV hosts monthly open houses and street outreach on worker justice issues, including wage theft, unjust firings and ICE raids at work, to engage and empower over 300 young immigrant workers and workers of color. We have formed a new street vendors advocacy group (Vendedores Unidos) in direct response to police harassment and punitive fines.
In the Summer of 2019, MLOV began organizing street vendors to organize against police harassment and assault of street vendors. Triggered by the physical assault of one of DC’s youngest street vendors, Vendedores Unidos/Vendors United formed and fought to: 1) amend DC’s restrictive licensing regime and gain equitable access to licenses and 2) Decriminalize Street Vending. After months of organizing, Ward 1 police now leave vendors to work in peace. Two new bills which would create “Sidewalk Vending Zones” and decriminalize street vending are making their way through the DC City Council.
With DC raising minimum wage to $15/hour in July 2020, MLOV expects wage theft and other worker rights violations to increase to all-time highs amongst our immigrant and refugee communities. Therefore, MLOV, in partnership with the Just Pay Coalition, now hosts monthly open houses (i.e. “clinics”) in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Amharic, and French). These trainings will engage over 60 young immigrant workers and workers of color—empowering them to organize around key justice issues, including wage theft, unjust terminations, and ICE raids at work.