Akima Global Services
Akima Global Services, LLC (AGS) is a Native American corporation that contracts with the federal government (ICE) to imprison immigrants in the federal detention center in Batavia, NY while they await the results of various hearings such as asylum and deportation. While in detention, detainees often perform work for AGS in the kitchen and perform other custodial work, for which they are paid ONE DOLLAR PER DAY for their labor. Plaintiffs Yeend and Phimasone have challenged AGS for its failure to pay them in compliance with New York State minimum wage statutes and the State Constitution for their work for AGS. The complaint was filed in Rensselaer County Supreme Court by attorneys for the Worker Justice Center in Kingston, NY and Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, PLLC.
AGS has denied it is obligated to comply with state law, claiming that its actions to pay $1/day are permitted and indeed required by the federal government.
Removal and Remand - Posted January 11, 2021
On October 16, 2020, AGS removed the case to Federal Court, claiming that it is entitled to pay subminimum wage because it is a federal actor and not a private company. It also claims that federal immigration law preempts state wage laws and that the case should be heard in federal court because of a diversity of citizenship between the Plaintiffs and itself. Plaintiffs have moved to have the case transferred/remanded back to state court alleging that there is no federal law preempting state minimum wage statutes, AGS is not a federal actor, and that AGS has failed to demonstrate diversity of citizenship. Plaintiffs also moved to strike AGS’s defenses that its actions are required by federal law. The Court has held this motion to strike in abeyance while it sorts out whether the case will remain in federal court or be sent back to the state courts.
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