Hunter Pyle honored as Advocate of the Year

May 1, 2024

On May 30, 2024, Hunter Pyle will be honored in Los Angeles as the Wage Justice Center’s Advocate of the Year.

Here is how Tania Milan, the Center’s Executive Director describes its mission:

As I reflect on my first year as the Executive Director at the Wage Justice Center (WJC), I find myself reminded of what drew me to the work in the first place — economic justice for workers. For 17 years now, the WJC has been chipping away towards this goal day by day, empowering and assisting workers directly in recovering their hard-earned wages.

Our work this past year has focused on day laborers, who are navigating the underground economy of “work-for-hire relationships” – a type of informal employment that has existed for centuries. In Los Angeles, day laborers exemplify this age-old dynamic, where employer-worker relationships can be fraught with exploitation for those taking advantage of them. What we’re hearing from these workers is that it’s often more work to fight for a week of unpaid wages than to simply move on and find another job, so they let it go, silently enduring injustice.

Even with California’s worker-centered policies, when wages are stolen, it can take workers years to get a judgment. There’s a prevailing disillusion with a system that moves so slowly, compounded by the fact that there’s only a 17% chance of actually recovering wages even after a favorable judgment.

And yet, I am most hopeful and empowered when I’m in the field, inspired by the resilience of this community.

This first year would not have been possible without our dedicated staff members and the leadership provided by our Legal Director, Jan Collatz who supervises our legal work. We are building on the legacy of those who came before us, trailblazers in this fight for economic justice. We are excited to highlight our work in this first installment of our WJC newsletter, and to celebrate 17 years of hard-won victories at our spring reception.

There’s no quick fix, but maintaining steadfast solidarity with workers is how we’ll ultimately prevail. I’m honored to work alongside all of you in this movement.