My name is Pablo Rutilio and I was born in Mexico, Sinaloa. I am 38 years old. I live in Washington Heights, Manhattan and have two kids–one lives in the USA and the other one in Mexico. I migrated to the USA in 2000 because I wanted a better life for me and my family. I worked at Liberato Restaurant as a chef, sometimes working 60-70 hours a week in poor conditions inside the restaurant, not making mínimum wage or overtime.
After many years of suffering abuse at the workplace, I joined Laundry Workers Center with my coworkers in 2014 to launch a campaign against the restaurant to demand dignity and respect, not just from Liberato, but all over the Bronx and beyond. I participated in Laundry Workers Center training and after two years fighting against wage theft, verbal abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment, my co-workers and I won the campaign. After winning the campaign and recovered what the company owned, I decided to open my own restaurant called La Essencia. I treat my employees with dignity, respecting the law and their rights. LWC is an amazing organization that supports its members until the end. For me is admirable how they teach and empower workers.
Now, I am living my dream. My co-workers and Laundry Workers Center empowered me; now I know my rights. They changed my life. I opened my restaurant to inspire others. Everything is possible if we organize.