Last week, JPMorgan Chase, one of those "too big to fail" banks, proved that it wasn't too big to fail at its risky investments as long as the American people keep them afloat. In a May 10 press conference, the bank's CEO, the dashing and suave Jamie Dimon, admitted that a blind bet cost the company $2 billion. With the same breath, CEO Jamie Dimon said that the bank's "strategy" (which is apparently what they call "placing bets" on Wall Street) in making the investment was "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored." While Dimon was preparing an explanation to his shareholders for the bank's loss, the janitors that clean the financial offices owned by JPMorgan Chase in downtown Miami were wondering if they could just get paid what they are owed. It's no surprise the banking giant has never once prepared an explanation for the hardworking people who aren't being fairly compensated for their work.
"We are being cheated!" Juan Reyes told the Miami New Times. She claims she is personally owed more than $2,000 in unpaid wages. For some of the bankers working in the building, $2,000 may not be much. It probably doest event pay for their country club membership renewal, but for Reyes who makes $12,000 a year, $2,000 is a matter of survival. The company that owes her the money, Jantrex, is the one that staffs the janitors for the JPMorgan Chase-owned building in downtown Miami. Since they became her boss four years ago, she and other workers claim that their wages have literally been stolen from them. They are filing a complaint against Jantrex with the county under its local "wage theft" prevention ordinance in order to get it back. You see, while some economists are talking about the "recovery" from the "Great Recession," to these workers downtown, recovery has a different meaning all together. It means recovering lost and stolen wages. That goes along with the home owners that have been forced to "recover" from foreclosure, and the hardworking yet still unemployed Miamians that are recovering from the depressing job prospects that are out there.
But I guess some people are doing just fine. They have drunk enough of the "we will get bailed out anyway" juice that they have billions of dollars to spare, or in the case of JPMorgan Chase, to lose. Juana Reyes is not so lucky, but she is determined. On Tuesday, she traveled to Tampa to attend JPMorgan's shareholder meeting, where hopefully Dimon and others heard about her story and how she's struggling to get what's rightly hers. The key difference is, that while JPMorgan lost its money through bad "strategy," Juana lost hers through alleged wage theft. It's just all around bad business.