Restitution Made in Pacoima Wage Case
A former Pacoima clothing manufacturer delivered a $15,000 check to state labor officials Wednesday, money that will be distributed to 35 of his former sewing-machine operators who took him to court because he failed to pay them.
Alberto Fuenzalida of San Fernando pleaded no contest in September to 39 criminal charges of failure to pay the state minimum wage of $3.35 an hour--which also is the federal minimum wage--to employees from December, 1986, to about February, 1987, and was ordered in Los Angeles Municipal Court to make restitution or serve up to 19 1/2 years in prison.
The city attorney’s office had called Fuenzalida’s operation a “stereotypical sweatshop case.” It was believe to be the first such case filed against a clothing manufacturer in the San Fernando Valley.
Officials with the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement said their office will distribute the money to employees in the next three weeks. Most of the former employees are owed $200 to $400, but several are owed as much as $600.