Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid - And What We Can Do About It

Boston Globe: Shaw's strikers borrow from history

When striking Shaw’s warehouse workers embark on a five-day march this weekend to draw renewed attention to their nearly three-month fight against the supermarket company, they will also be evoking the civil rights and farm workers’ marches of the 1960s.


“It’s interesting that the leaders are turning to the history of social movements to find tactics that will attract public attention,’’ said James Green, a labor historian at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “Historically, of course, this was very common and often very effective.’’


Marches like this don’t take place very often anymore, but drastic action is necessary to get the public’s attention, organizers said. The 300 warehouse workers walked off the job on March 7, largely over rising health care costs, and the union has been holding pickets at about 16 local Shaw’s stores ever since.


“You can’t win a strike these days, generally speaking, just walking around on a picket line,’’ said Russ Davis, executive director of Jobs With Justice, which helped plan the march.


The march will go…



Workers Defense Project – Action Against Centex/Pulte Homes for Unpaid Wages in Austin

Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC Michigan)

The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC Michigan) and supporters conduct a rally and street theater at the Andiamos restaurant in Dearborn, MI to support workers at the restaurant who are being treated unfairly. Watch as “Captain ROC” and “the Justice League” battle the forces of greed and unfairness

Wage Theft Prevention Act Resolution & Living Wage Legislation Introduced at Stated Meeting

At Tuesday’s stated meeting, Melissa introduced a resolution in support of the Wage Theft Prevention Act, a bill in the State Legislature.

Recent studies have estimated that each week, more than 300,000 workers in New York City are victims of wage theft, which typically involves employers denying workers minimum wage and overtime pay, taking back tips and misclassifying employees as independent contractors.  If passed by the Senate and Assembly, the Wage Theft Prevention Act would expand enforcement and increase penalties for underpayment and nonpayment of wages….



HuffPost: New York's Domestic Workers May Finally Get Rights on the Job

Is scrubbing somebody else’s floor "work"? How about staying up all night – every night – with another person’s colicky baby? Or helping their elderly mother shower and use the bathroom? The reality is, domestic workers like nannies, caregivers and housekeepers do some of the hardest and most necessary work around. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are able to do their own jobs and keep their families functioning only because they rely on the labor of nannies and caregivers, yet these domestic employees are denied the basic workplace protections most other workers are guaranteed. That may finally change when the New York State Senate finally votes on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (pdf) next week.


The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights…



Sound Shore: Port Chester-based contractors arrested in $2 million wage theft

Two contractors from Port Chester-based Leed Industries Corporation, also known as Hi-Tech, are accused of failing to pay $2 million in wages for roofing work on public buildings, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced today…



AFL-CIO: California Fines Carwashes $700,000

The California labor commissioner’s office investigated 247 carwashes in California, including nearly 50 in Los Angeles County alone. The businesses include carwashes that the CLEAN Carwash Campaign had reported to the state as having potential wage-and-hour violations based on complaints from workers.


The actions, which resulted in more than $700,000 in fines to the carwashes, made it clear that the carwash industry continues to violate even the most basic laws protecting workers. The industry’s widespread problems with…



NYT: Wage Proposal May Prompt Fight at City Hall

In what could set off a major City Hall battle, two City Council members from the Bronx plan to propose a bill on Tuesday that would guarantee wages of at least $10 an hour, nearly $3 above the minimum wage, to all workers at development projects receiving public subsidies.


The bill is likely to draw strong opposition from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who vigorously fought, and ultimately lost, a struggle last year over similar wage requirements at a mall that was planned to be built inside the city-owned Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.


The plans for a mall were defeated by the Council because Mr. Bloomberg and the developer refused to include pay rates higher than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.


The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, as…



GoDaddy.com Axes Whistleblower, Employees Go Class Action

Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (1888PressRelease) May 22, 2010 – In a legal Complaint filed yesterday in Maricopa County Civil Court in downtown Phoenix, Az. (Captioned Corbin et al. V. Godaddy.com Inc. Case Number CV2010-016149) alleging, The world’s leading internet domain registrar and hosting company, with $750 million dollars in annual revenue and a single owner, privately held, Godaddy.com may be trying to discount a portion of it’s massive 24-hour 7-day a week 2400 employee labor force, by non compliance with federal FLSA wage and hour standards, involving sales bonuses and overtime pay. The complaint seeks class action status for illegal bonus deductions, failure to properly pay overtime under the FLSA, and wrongful termination of a whistleblower. Judge Hugh Hegyi is assigned to the case. The employees have retained private council Phoenix based powerhouse ….



Medill Reports: Exploited immigrants, unaware of labor laws, afraid to fight mistreatment

Natasha moved to Chicago from Eastern Europe a year and a half ago with a visa and a vision of what America would be like. But that vision quickly disintegrated.


The nanny job she had secured turned ugly when they stopped paying her on time and started asking her to do things she wasn’t comfortable with.  Finally, feeling as though she had no other options, she quit and started the job search anew.


“[The job] was not working at all,” said Natasha, who requested her real name be withheld.  “But then I had no money and I got desperate because I didn’t want to leave.”


One of her Eastern European friends mentioned a Chicago-area spa owner who was hiring masseuses and provided great perks: a free apartment, a car and a ….



Naples News: Former poker dealers sue Bonita Springs dog track

BONITA SPRINGS — Three former poker dealers at Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track are suing the track’s owner, alleging it skimmed their tips to pay card room floor managers.


Kevin Bellington and Lisa Williams, both of Fort Myers, and Bonita Springs resident Steven Gedday filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Orlando against Southwest Florida Enterprises Inc., which does business as Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker. The lawsuit, filed May 7, alleges the Bonita Springs poker room violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.


A track employee said General Manager Larry Baldwin declined comment and referred calls to its corporate office, Flagler Greyhound Track in Miami. Officials there were not immediately available Wednesday.


The lawsuit was filed by Christopher Whitelock and Chad Levy, Fort Lauderdale attorneys who have gained a reputation after filing 10 similar lawsuits at dog tracks and jai alai entertainment centers across the state, including three against Palm….





Queen's Chronicle: Wage theft measure backed by many

Residents, state officials, community organizers and labor leaders gathered in Jackson Heights on Thursday to support passage of The Wage Theft Prevention Act. The legislation would increase penalties and tighten enforcement of New York State laws protecting workers from nonpayment and underpayment of wages and make it easier for law-abiding businesses to remain competitive, according to state senators.
   If a worker is not being paid minimum wage in New York State or if wages are stolen, the employee may take his or her employers to court. Current law allows an employee to collect back wages and to recuperate an additional 25 percent of all wages…



LA Progressive:Low-Income Latinos and Immigrants Reported "Under Siege" in the South

This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a new report entitled “Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South.” SLPC report adds to the mounting evidence pointing to the harmful impact that the absence of a functioning immigration system is having on Latinos and….




Did you know that immigrants who work in NY State…whether here legally or illegally…are entiteld to protections by certain labor laws?? On HITN’s INSIGHT NUEVA YORK we learned that one of the main abuses of new immigrants…especially those without legal status…is “wage theft.” That’s when employers either simply do not pay such workers, pay them less than the minimum wage, or fail to pay them overtime for hours that qualify. Enter the NYS Department of Labor’s BUREAU OF IMMIGRANT WORKER’S RIGHTS, whose job it is to prevent those abuses AND get back pay for workers who have been cheated…




U.S. May Turn to Community Policing for Pay Violations

Following an appearance before the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this year, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis endorsed the notion of enlisting outside groups to blow the whistle on companies that fail to pay employees what they’re owed or to provide a safe work environment….




Iran Labor Report: Workers Protests Continue in Iran

The workers in Iran have continued with their protests on the issues of wage thefts, layoffs, and job insecurity in the recent weeks. The protests have varied from sit-ins and strikes to the gatherings at the offices of the president and the parliament. A report on a number of these actions follows.


Metal Industries (Tehran Zarrin Products) Unit 1 workers began their strike on May 12. The workers had not received wages of the last six months as well as those from last June and July. The plant has been operating with 20% capacity for its raw materials. On May 16, the workers hanging banners reading “We are asking for our jobs and wages”, on the plant fences, met with the representatives from the management, Islam Shahr labor office, and the security force. The workers were asked to make formal complaints and ask for the plant assets as compensations for their wages. The request was not accepted by the workers. They were then offered one month wages which was also turned down by the workers. The labor office representative called for clam and end to the strike which was met with workers…




Catholic News Service : Scholars: Those Who Thwart Labor Unions Commit Mortal Sin

WASHINGTON (CNS)—A group of Catholic scholars contends that management efforts to break labor unions are a grave breech of the church’s social doctrine and tantamount to committing mortal sin.

A statement from Weymouth, Mass.-based Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, released May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, offers a detailed argument that actions to thwart union organizing campaigns, stifle contract talks, unilaterally roll back wages and benefits, and break existing labor agreements are a "grave violation of Catholic social doctrine on labor unions."

"This violation of Catholic doctrine constitutes material grounds for mortal sin because it stands in grave violation of both the letter and spirit of Catholic social doctrine," said the document, titled "Union Busting Is a Mortal Sin."

In laying out their argument, the scholars said efforts to deny workers the….





Washington, D.C. – Today, Paul Hodes and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter are demanding an investigation into a new round of allegations that letter carriers at even more post offices have been shortchanged on their paychecks. In documents obtained by Hodes, post offices in Dover and Salem, New Hampshire are shown to have manipulated letter carriers’ time sheets to remove overtime pay and earned wages.




Austin Stateman: Austin's most vulnerable workers

"I don’t want to get hung up talking about that," Carlos said in Spanish, referring to the news headlines on immigration legislation. "I mean, you have to stay positive, you know? Best not to dwell on those things. But yeah, there are lots of abusive people out there. If you don’t get paid, if you get injured \u2026 well, what can you do. Just got to keep working and hope things turn out for the better."

A former muralist from Valle del Bravo, Mexico state, Carlos is in his fifth year working as a jornalero, or day laborer, in Austin. He’s in his early 40s, but he says that swinging a shovel under the sun seven days a week has added 20 years of wear to his lower back. He is among hundreds of immigrants working as informal day laborers in the city.

Employers in today’s restricted economy are hard-pressed to cut costs. As budgets tighten, some see skirting the safety and wages of their immigrant employees — people with little real protection — as the easiest means to save on their bottom line.

The National Day Labor Survey of 2006 found that although U.S. labor law extends to all workers regardless of immigration status, nearly half of day laborers surveyed experienced at least one instance of wage theft in the two preceding months. A local study by the Workers Defense Project and the University of Texas says that construction contractors, the second-biggest employer of day laborers after individual homeowners and landscapers, withhold pay from ….




Stolen Wages of the Apparel Industry

Are the core labor and employment laws failing to protect the apparel industry workers?

 Labor force constitutes the major population in any country. While they live their lives in darkness, the creamy layer of the society enjoy the benefits of their hardships. In the industrial sector, apparel industry especially, is more labor intensive. As an employee they do have certain rights to protect them. Right to be paid at least the minimum wages, right to get overtime payment, right for appropriate working conditions, right for meal breaks, and accessing workers compensation when injured. Are they getting all their privileges? No. Not at all. The sheer breadth of the issue, and its profound impact on the workers suffering significant economic hardships, demand an urgent attention. ….