Big Boss Man vs the Indigent Children


Political Cartoon by Khalil Bendib

By Eric Ahlberg

Get a job. Nothing seems to disturb the gentrifiers of Venice like unemployed youth hanging out on their block. Why can’t they just get a job like us decent hard working American middle class people. Well maybe the jobs suck, the pay sucks, and often the employers suck.Venice has it’s share of sucky employers, from popular trendy restaurants to the fast food chains.

The boss, the big guy, the guy in charge, the entrepreneur, the self-made man, the guy who can take the money right out of the till. It has come to our attention that several local restaurants have settled lawsuits over wages and hours and unreported income. I’m sure it’s just an annoyance to them, and viewed as unfair, and they see it as a conspiracy of Lawyers and disgruntled ex-employees after money, which is true enough, that’s what it takes to settle. It’s all about the money. Restaurant workers must be paid at least minimum wage, excluding tips.

The restaurant servers may pool tips, to share with the other workers. Restaurant Owners may try to take control of tips, but tips are gratuities from customer to server and the restaurant owner should have no part in it. Restaurant workers are also entitled to uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks and 10-minute rest breaks. It is ironic that employees working in the food service business are illegally deprived of their right to enjoy an uninterrupted 30-minute meal and be relieved of their work duties during this time. Violations of the employment laws can subject the employers to six figure settlements, including back pay, penalties, fines and civil penalties.

The failure to pay proper overtime compensation or pay for missed meal and rest periods may give rise to other violations of California’s labor laws. In addition to the actual overtime compensation owed to the employee (computed at 1.5 or 2 timesthe employee’s regular rate), employees may recover the following: 1) Legal Interest 2) Statutory Penalties. 3) Attorney’s Fees and Costs 4) Civil Penalties.  If you think your employer is screwing you, we suggest you file claims and contact an Employment Attorney at There are several employment attorneys in Venice.

Restaurant owners have a great incentive to cheat workers on hours worked and overtime, and often do so with impunity. Why? Because they can be greedy Pricks. If a restaurant owner is a prick about paying his workers, he is also a prick about most other things. This is what greed does to people, they must seek advantages over others, and pocket the difference. This is basic capital accumulation on the grass roots scale in the small businesses.  Now we love it when a business has a positive attitude toward its workers, it pays them well, and encourages them to be a team player with the other workers, and treats them kindly. But then there are the arrogant entitled shits who are always trying to screw everybody, who seem to always question your worth to them, even when you pull their ass out of the fire. You’re just a fucking peon and you are lucky to have a job. Seventy percent of American workers are “emotionally disconnected” at work, with nearly one in five employees “actively disengaged.” Fifty percent of women work for minimum wage, and that includes a lot of single moms.

Indolent youth on the street? Get a job bum! But what’s a young person to do? Twenty percent youth unemployment, fourty-three percent for black youth.  Anybody ever see a Oakwood black kid working on Abbot Kinney Fast Food Job? Forty percent of fast food outposts in the country fail to consistently pay their employees a minimum wage or overtime, and eighty-four percent of NY fast food workers complained that their employers regularly force them to work off the books, work overtime without overtime pay or pony up for their own gas for deliveries. The whole structure of franchising is set up to throw workers under the bus while insulating corporations from the messy exigencies of their labor. Sexual harassment too. A GF of mine, a great flute player, studied with Galway, but she was working at a national hamburger chain. Turned out that it’s mandatory to attend team building retreats where fucking your superior is your path to suckcess.

No Future? Yes we still treasure the punk rebellion cuz it sucked hard. Now the world is going punk Anarchy everywhere while the richest just keep getting richer. No Future is what the one percent are offering.

Then we have the bottom of the labor pool. The Homeless Street Kids. These kids seem to be the punching bags for the OPD gentrifiers in Venice.  They’re the most likely to try sleeping in a car, because it is unsafe to sleep in the bushes.  There are 10,000 homeless youth in LA. Here is a recent report about this issue, No Way Home:

The statistics are frightening..
• Every 26 seconds a child runs away, and 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the U.S.
• One in three teens will be recruited by a “pimp” within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
• At least 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S.
(Estes and Wiener, 2001)
• The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old.

Hollywood has a serious problem with homeless street kids and prostitution.  Sexing people up for money is a survival skill, also known as the oldest profession, and the pimps know what a gold mine a beautiful young thing can be. You don’t suppose any of those 12 year old sex workers are in Venice?  Here we like to bitch about 12 year old Muslim brides in the Middle east, what’s wrong with those people?

The Golden Path to Riches…Exploitation.  Exploitation can be defined as any harmful or dangerous work detrimental to the physical, psychological well-being and emotional development of children and / or disrupting their education. Child abuse affects 1 in 8 children in the world – about 179 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 years (ILO 2002). Sexual abuse through exploitation for commercial purposes is one of the main violations of children’s rights. Approximately 1 million children (mainly girls but a considerable number of boys also) fall into the sex industry each year. The refugee phenomenon of exploited and abused children, street children and children engaged in hazardous work, is a universal phenomenon.  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently launched a multiagency task force to address the ongoing issue of sex trafficking involving youth in the foster care system. The move was spurred the passage of an anti-sex-trafficking ballot measure, which county officials said will shift much of the responsibility for juvenile prostitutes from the criminal justice system to the foster care system. Which is to say that when you call the cops on a homeless youth, you may be sending them into sexual slavery in a corrupt foster care system.

The system is broken folks, the government is not able to take care of this and it is up to you. How about instead you get to know them, respect their humanity, have some empathy, and help them get to an appropriate solution provider. This problem is only going to get worse unless you act to create and support humane solutions.
•A Safe Place for Youth – has a drop in center in Venice Beach, open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Donations and Volunteers welcome.
•My Friend’s Place assists and inspires homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives.
•The Gay and Lesbian Center has a youth center on Highland in Hollywood.
•Los Angeles Youth Network
•Ocean Park Community Center 1616 7th Street Santa Monica 90401 Free food Mon., Wed., Fri. 9am.
•Teen Challenge 3156 Euclid St., Lynwood, free christian residential program, intake on Tuesdays from 1-4pm.
•Housing Resource center, low income housing Call 877-428-88444
•PATH-People Assisting the Homeless–low income housing 340 N. Madison ave., L.A.
•New Image Shelter–3804 Broadway Place, L.A. Call 323-231-1711
•Labor Ready (ID reqired) Short term work 323-860-0783
•Los Angeles Dream Center one year discipleship Call 213-273-7171
•Los Angeles Mission, 213-629-1227 ext. 317

•Downtown Woman’s Center-213-613-1024, 325 S. Los Angeles St. 90013

•New Beginings Christian Discipleship 323-766-1784, 1167 W 39th PL, L.A. 90037
– with help from Rick Garvey, The Asian Journal,
‘How Fast Food Companies Steal Worker’s Pay’ by
Seth Freed Wessle

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