Founder of Wage Justice Center
2007 Global Fellow
As much as twenty-nine percent of Los Angeles County’s workforce is estimated to be employed by an underground economy of contractors and subcontractors. Even though progress has been made to increase the filing of wage claims, these employers perennially ignore the judgments for unpaid wages, unjustly keeping these wages as their profit. The Wage Justice Center works to provide a systematic solution to protect the basic economic rights of workers and enforce the collection of the approximately $50 million in unpaid wages by these employers. The Center’s unique approach of enforcing judgments and creating a permanent enforcement mechanism for wage rights contributes to the growing national movement of organizations that combat the systemic inequality facing America’s poorest workers. Using elements of commercial law, debtor-creditor law, corporation’s law, trusts/estates law and bankruptcy law, the Wage Justice Center, in its first three years, collected more than $800,000 in funds owed to low-income workers and provided assistance to hundreds of workers.
Matthew Sirolly is the cofounder and Director of the Wage Justice Center, a Los Angeles based nonprofit organization devoted to enforcing wage rights for low-income workers. He attended the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.