California's Bay Area is home to 30,000 garment industry workers, many of whom are Chinese immigrants.
After trade regulatory change, local San Francisco garment factories begin to send production offshore and thousands of factory workers lose their jobs. By 2004, there are 204 garment factories, down from 406 in 1998. By 2005, there are an estimated 3,500 garment workers in the Bay Area, down from a peak of 30,000 in 1990.
Chinese Progressive Association's Worker Organizing Center forms to support workers displaced by these industry changes and to help them demand legal rights and backpay. CPA works closely with labor council and city colleges to transition workers into jobs in other industries (janitorial, grocery store, hotel, and restaurant.) Many workers also join the informal workforce as domestic workers.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes to raise the city's minimum wage to $8.50, the highest in the country at the time, after a concerted campaign by labor and community leaders including those from CPA.
City Attorney brings case against King Tin Restaurant for paying workers less than the minimum wage.
San Francisco City Attorney wins settlement against King Tin Restaurant owners for minimum wage and overtime violations that took place in 2004. Restaurant owners paid $85,000 in back wages to seven employees. The settlement was the first legal action that enforced the new minimum wage ordinance that took effect in 2004.
Chinese Progressive Association Leadership committee partners with The San Francisco Department of Public Health; University of California, San Francisco Medical School; University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and Labor and Occupational Health Program to document the working conditions of San Francisco Chinatown Restaurant workers in a comprehensive research project.
Over the course of two years, community members and researchers design and implement a community survey and an observational checklist to better understand and document working conditions in Chinatown restaurants. They survey 433 restaurant workers and observe 106 of the 108 restaurants in Chinatown.
Survey data reveals that half of Chinatown restaurant workers report working for less than the minimum wage. Workers also report long work days and weeks without breaks, injuries and hazardous work environments, and high levels of stress without the necessary healthcare and time off to address medical conditions or injuries.
Two wage theft ordinances pass the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to tighten regulations on wage theft and to create a wage theft task force.
Dick Lee Pastry Inc. settles for $525,000 in back wages and penalties. The city sued the restaurant for forcing employees to work 11-hour days, six days a week for less than $4 an hour.
Yank Sing, one of the biggest and most popular dim sum restaurants in San Francisco, agrees to pay $4 million dollars in backpay to 280 affected current and former workers for wage and hour violations. The restaurant also agrees to changes in the workplace that include base wage increases, holiday and vacation pay, fully paid health care for full-time employees, a workers compliance committee, and commitments to further strengthen and empower workers through workers rights education.