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On Wednesday, January 27, the Jobs to Move America (JMA) coalition organized a “Know Your Rights” action in front of the Build Your Dreams Motor Company (BYD) headquarters in Los Angeles. The event sought to inform employees of their rights under the Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance (LWO). BYD has a public contract with the City of Los Angeles, making it subject to the LWO. The City of LA recently found BYD to be in violation of this law.

Two large banners were displayed to encourage workers to learn about their rights at the workplace. The banners were in English and Mandarin.

“BYD has received $39 million in public tax dollars, and they promised to create good jobs in Los Angeles. BYD doesn’t think that the Living Wage law applies to them, so we want to make sure their workers know that the law protects them, whether they are from Los Angeles or China,” said JMA’s California Organizer Diego Janacua.

Among their rights under the LWO, employees are expected to receive $12.42/hour if they have no health insurance and $11.17/hour if they are provided with health benefits. Employees are also entitled to 12 paid days for sick leave, vacation or personal necessity, as well as an additional 10 non-paid days off for family or personal illness.

Perhaps one of the most important provisions of the LWO is the “No Employer Retaliation” section, which prohibits a company from retaliating against an employee by reducing pay, firing or discriminating against them if they make a complaint against the company, opposing any practice prohibited by the LWO, asserting their rights under the LWO or a host of other issues.

BYD came under fire in 2013 for a number of work-related violations. The California Department of Industrial Relations fined them for failing to provide some of their workers brought from China with the mandated California minimum wage, workers’ compensation insurance, sufficient pay documentations and rest breaks.

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