More than a dozen Papillion day care workers who quit their jobs in a dispute with the new owner are still waiting for their final paychecks weeks later. The state can't do anything to get back pay.
“It's been hard and that money could help us.” The workers quit in protest, but say that doesn't give their former boss an excuse not to pay them. The new owner of Cradles To Crayons near 84th and Adams in Papillion, Damien Stevenson , blames workers for scaring away clients and putting the day care on a financial teeter-totter. He promises to pay them by mid-June.
The former employees asked the state to force him to keep that promise. “You would think the state would help you, but hearing they can't do anything, it’s like what's the point?” says Katy Tauer.
The state assists citizens in wage investigations, but it is not authorized to prosecute cases. That means coming to small claims court where if they win, the workers still have to collect the wages themselves because the Nebraska Department of Labor doesn't have the power to collect back pay for them. “I don't have money to file a claim, especially without that last paycheck.”
Labor investigators resolve 90-percent of wage complaints and nobody has to go to court, however the state says the day care owner hasn't cooperated. “I'm not begging for free money, I'm just asking simply for the money that I worked hard for,” says Arianna Percha.
After watching other people’s children, these former day care workers say they need final paychecks to take care of their own.
The owner of Cradles to Crayons in Papillion tells Fact Finders he owes 13 former employees a total of $4,000. He says income from another facility will cover that and he promises all will be paid in full by mid-June.