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

Tag Archives: State – Florida

Struggle for Wage Theft Ordinance Not Over Yet, But Close

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013   Posted in Uncategorized

“On April 16, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of passing a Wage Recovery Ordinance in Alachua County. The coalition behind the victory, The Alachua County Wage Theft Task Force, spent months outreaching to the religious and business community, as well as lobbying their elected county representatives to pass a local solution to our state’s wage theft epidemic. But what should have been a night of celebration for workers and organizers in Alachua County was muted by the ongoing legislative session and our representative’s efforts to kill our ordinance in Tallahassee…”

 

http://www.gainesvilleiguana.org/2013/articles/struggle-for-wage-theft-ordinance-not-over-yet-but-close/#more-1073

Council Tackles Blue CRUSH, Wage Theft

Monday, January 7th, 2013   Posted in Uncategorized

Memphis City Council members take up third and final reading Tuesday, Jan. 8, of an ordinance that sets up a local General Sessions Court-based process for settling “wage theft” complaints.

The council meeting is at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

The complaints involve workers who allege that they are not being paid overtime for extra hours to “fees” taken out of paychecks to working conditions like stopping the work clock when there are no customers….

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2013/jan/8/council-tackles-blue-crush-wage-theft/

County commissioners to discuss wage theft

Monday, January 7th, 2013   Posted in Uncategorized

The Alachua County Commission will meet this evening to hear a presentation regarding a potential wage theft ordinance.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in room 209 of the County Administration Building, located at 12 SE 1st St. in Gainesville.

A countywide wage theft ordinance, if approved by the commission, would give workers a way to report wage theft in the hope of receiving just compensation from their employers.

The Alachua County Wage Theft Task Force is leading the local push for a countywide ordinance.

Methods of wage theft can include losing tip money to an employer or being pressured to work off-the-clock to save money….

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20130107/articles/130109737

New Ordinance Campaign in Alachua County, Florida!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Diana Moreno knows what it’s like to lose hard-earned money to wage theft.

While working as a server at a local restaurant in 2009 that she didn’t want to name, she was repeatedly asked to clock out after her shift but stay to mop the floors and take out the trash.

“You don’t want to be a bad sport,” she said. “You don’t want to have the bad stamp of being a bad worker.”

Putting in a bit of extra, unpaid work may not seem like a big deal at first, but over time the lost money adds up.

Moreno, a coordinator with the Alachua County Labor Party, is working to combat the wage theft that she and other local residents have experienced.

The Alachua County Wage Theft Task Force is spearheading the push for a countywide wage theft ordinance that would give workers an avenue to report wage theft and seek just compensation from employers.

The task force hosted a meeting Wednesday evening at the Alachua County Public Library Headquarters at which Moreno and others shared their stories with a group of about 25 people….

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20121024/ARTICLES/121029760

Victory in Broward County!!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

A controversial law that would empower workers to easily go after their employers for pay was approved Tuesday after two hours of debate by the Broward County Commission.

The law was denounced by the business community, who over the course of months called it hostile, insulting and unnecessary. They won a consolation — the law’s terminology was changed from “wage theft” to “non-payment of earned wages.”

A similar political landscape in Palm Beach County scuttled a wage theft law there. Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida that had the law, officials said. Broward became the second by a 7-2 vote, with Commissioners Stacy Ritter and Chip LaMarca voting no.

 

Jacobs said her son fell victim to underpayment when he worked for a business that didn’t pay workers at all. They earned only tips. Since she proposed the law, she said she’s heard about a lot of workers who have been ripped off.

“Those are the companies that need to know that wage theft is not OK in Broward County,” she said.

Though commissioners conceded that there are laws already on the books to protect employees from working without proper pay, they said they wanted to make it easier, and provide a way for employees to recover their pay without having to enter a courthouse.

“Courts are not the most friendly place for people,” said Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.

Wage theft occurs when workers are paid below the minimum wage, are not paid overtime, are forced to work off the clock, have their time cards altered or aren’t paid for work performed.

Under the law, employees who believe they are owed $60 or more for work done in Broward County will be able to turn to the county for help, as long as the employer isn’t the state, federal government or an Indian tribe. The case will go to a county hearing officer for a decision….

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-wage-theft-final-vote-20121023,0,442728.story

Broward County’s Turn to Implement Wage Theft Ordinance

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Broward County Commissioners will vote on a wage recovery ordinance today, an important step towards ending unfair wage theft which plagues low-income workers. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “wage theft can include workers not being paid overtime or minimum wage, being force to work during meal breaks or work off the clock, or not paying them at all,” and it is a serious crime that can pose significant risks for many in this fragile economy.

When a person is denied their pay not only is it unjust, but it can have devastating consequences. With many in Florida struggling just to get by, withholding pay from one person may mean withholding food or shelter from their family who rely on the paychecks for their very survival.

The empty claim made by some that wage theft ordinances hurt businesses is ludicrous, since employees only get paid what is legally entitled to…

http://onemiaminow.org/2012/10/09/broward-countys-turn-to-implement-wage-theft-ordinance/

Broward Values Honesty, Not Theft

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Today, Broward County Commissioners will vote on a wage recovery ordinance that could help thousands of workers who are not paid for their work. Florida is currently the 15th worst state in the country when it comes to helping workers recover their earned salaries, and Broward County alone has the third largest number of cases in our state.

The magnitude of the problem led commissioners in Miami-Dade County to pass a similar ordinance in 2010, with great results. This ordinance has helped over 600 workers who couldn’t afford to pay their rent or buy food for their children when they didn’t get their full paycheck, and who otherwise would have had to go to the courts to recover their wages. Needless to say, if they didn’t have enough to pay for their family’s basic needs, they were not in a position to get an attorney, pay filing fees, and wait months or years for their pay….

Last week, an opinion piece in the Sun Sentinel by

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanette-smith/broward-wage-recovery-ordinance_b_1949464.html

Broward to draft wage-theft ordinance

Friday, June 15th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

The Broward County Commission on Tuesday approved a motion to draft a local ordinance prohibiting wage theft, to help low-income workers secure unpaid wages.

Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs urged commissioners to draft an ordinance similar to Miami-Dade’s, saying that Broward has the third-largest number of wage-theft cases in Florida. She said low-wage workers in the tourism, retail, trade and construction industries are most affected.

Once written, the ordinance has to be voted on by the commission.

Wage-theft ordinances have been hot-button issues in Miami-Dade County, which has had an ordinance since 2010, and in Palm Beach County, which has a pilot project with the Legal Aid Society.

“Wage theft” can include workers not being paid overtime or minimum wage, being forced to work during meal breaks or off the clock, or not getting paid at all.

An average of 3,036 wage violations a year are reported to the U.S. Department of Labor’s wage and hour division in Florida, according to a Florida International University report.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Ilene Lieberman questioned the potential for frivolous complaints, saying that she couldn’t find any disincentive in the Miami-Dade ordinance….

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-broward-wage-theft-vote-20120613,0,999223.story

Florida Flunks Wage Theft Test — South Florida Leads the Class

Thursday, June 14th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

On the heels of a report stating that Florida is the 15th worst state in the nation for workers trying to recover stolen wages, the Broward County Commission directed the county attorney to draft a wage theft ordinance, following the examples of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties. The report issued by the Progressive States Network graded states based on how well they protect workers ability to receive their earned wages. According to the report, if this were school, Florida would have flunked out by now.

In particular, Florida has exactly zero laws on the books that would incentivize employers to stay honest. Transparency and accountability measures such as notice to employees of wages and paydays, record-keeping, pay stubs with each pay period, and the right for enforcement agencies to inspect records also help workers keep abreast of their terms of employment. In this category, Florida held the shameful honor of scoring 0, a score that only Alabama and Mississippi — two states that have never had wage and hour laws — can also share.

Other ways in which Florida’s wage theft laws are insufficient…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanette-smith/florida-wage-theft_b_1594447.html

 

Florida dead last in protecting workers

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Miami-Dade County’s effective wage-theft ordinance emerged safe and sound from this year’s legislative session, despite the best efforts of lawmakers — in the sway of monied special interests — to kill it.

Because the ordinance still stands, it casts Miami-Dade County as a leader in a state that does little to nothing to protect workers from employers who don’t pay up. Better still, Broward and Palm Beach counties are considering their own wage-theft ordinances, joining Miami-Dade at the forefront of protecting workers, helping well-intentioned employers who are in a financial bind and penalizing the bad actors.

A ranking by the Progressive States Network found that “Florida has exactly zero laws on the books that would incentivize employers to stay honest.” And when it comes to holding employees accountable to their employees with such measures as notice of wages and paydays and pay stubs with each pay period, “Florida held the shameful honor of scoring 0, a score that only Alabama and Mississippi — two states that have never had wage and hour laws — can also share.”

 

Well, whoopee — we’re among the best of the worst!…

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/13/2848224/florida-dead-last-in-protecting.html

interfaith22

 

While JPMorgan Chase Loses Its Lunch, Some Janitors in Their Building Can Barely Pay for Theirs

Monday, May 21st, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

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 hisshareholders 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…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jose-suarez/wage-theft_b_1524836.html

Three Palm Beach County commissioners open to wage-theft law

Monday, April 30th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

WEST PALM BEACH — Two Palm Beach County commissioners said Thursday night they would support a wage-theft ordinance similar to one Miami-Dade County has approved, and a third said she thinks a compromise could be reached on the issue.

Commissioners Paulette Burdick and Jess R. Santamaria offered their support at the annual assembly of People Engaged in Active Community Efforts, or PEACE, a grassroots organization of local churches.

An estimated crowd of 2,000 people gathered for the meeting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. PEACE also questioned Santamaria about high unemployment in the Glades.

Palm Beach County commissioners are expected to considered a wage-theft proposal in the next 90 days that could be similar to the Miami-Dade law. It creates a process that workers can use to recover wages from an employer who fails to pay them an agreed-upon amount. Before that, workers in Miami-Dade had to go to court to recover their wages, which often is a costly process.

A Florida International University study found the Miami-Dade program has recovered more than $400,000 in unpaid wages since it began in 2010. An effort to ban counties from imposing such laws failed in the state Legislature this year.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/three-palm-beach-county-commissioners-open-to-wage-2327659.html

 

Florida Wage-Theft Laws Could Be Blocked By GOP Bill

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

A bill moving through the Florida legislature would kill any local laws designed to help workers recover wages owed by their employers, prompting demonstrations against businesses in the state that support the legislation.

The measure would prohibit municipal governmentsfrom instituting local wage-theft ordinances, effectively spiking a landmark 2010 law in Miami-Dade County that has helped workers recoup roughly $400,000 in backpay from their employers — the first law of its kind in the country.

The term “wage theft” typically refers to a situation in which the employer intentionally withholds pay, requires an employee to work off the clock or fails to compensate for overtime. A few local governments, including New York State, have ramped up penalties on employers that commit wage theft.

In Florida, the recent measure that would block local wage-theft laws passed the GOP-majority state House of Representatives last week, but hasn’t been voted on in the similarly GOP-controlled state Senate. The state legislation would also preempt a local wage-theft ordinance under consideration in Palm Beach County.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/florida-wage-theft-law_n_1324544.html

Macy’s: Stop Supporting Wage Theft

Monday, March 5th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Community delivers petition with over 6,000 signatures asking Macy’s to withdraw support from Wage Theft preemption bills in the Legislature

 

WHAT:            Florida families, workers, and community allies rally in front of Macy’s and deliver petition

WHEN:            Monday, March 5, 2012 at 1:00PM EST

WHERE:         Macy’s (Downtown), 22 East Flagler Street, Miami, FL

 

WHO:           Members of the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, including AFL-CIO, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, Florida Immigrant Coalition, WeCount!, RISEP-FIU

 

MIAMI, FL - Working families and community allies will hold a rally and informational picket outside Macy’s Florida headquarters in downtown Miami to call attention to Macy’s support of damaging Wage Theft Preemption legislation.

 

petition with more than 6,000 signatures from Florida residents will be delivered to Macy’s Vice-President of Legislative Affairs, Paul Imbrone, who is chairman of the Board of Directors for the Florida Retail Federation, the main proponent behind the Wage Theft Preemption bills. These bills (HB 609/SB 862), should they become law, would eliminate Miami-Dade’s successful Wage Theft Program as well as prevent other local governments from establishing their own Wage Theft Programs to protect victims of Wage Theft.

 

Miami-Dade’s Wage Theft Ordinance has, in just over a year and a half, resulted in the recovery of over $400,000 in wages stolen from over 300 employees. Another 1.5 million dollars in claims is pending due to the prevalence of this heinous practice. HB 609 passed the Florida House of Representatives on February 29th and its companion, SB 862, is making its way through the Florida Senate.

 

A recent study found that Wage Theft removes millions of dollars from local communities and disproportionately affects low-income workers and their families.
For a copy of the study –   http://www.risep-fiu.org/2012/01/wage-theft-how-millions-of-dollars-are-stolen-from-floridas-workforce/

Legislature proves friendlier than fights in court

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

TALLAHASSEE — Two years ago, a powerful business trade group filed a lawsuit against the state’s largest county, Miami-Dade, arguing that its program to help workers recover unpaid wages was unconstitutional.

But with the case still being fought in court, the Florida Retail Federation also launched a campaign to pass HB 609, which would change state law to outlaw the county’s program.

“We think the Dade County ordinance violates Article 5, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution, where it says ‘No municipality, no county can establish a court or a tribunal,’” the FRF’s senior vice president John Rogers told lawmakers during a recent hearing in this year’s legislative session.

 

OUR OPINION: Keep hands off Miami-Dade ordinance

Monday, February 27th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Some employers refuse to pay their workers after the job’s been done. Others simply can’t for lack of funds. Either way, it happens far more than it should, and Miami-Dade County has come up with an innovative solution — the Wage Theft Ordinance that gives workers who have been stiffed extra muscle to go up against their delinquent employers and win.

Believe it or not, state lawmakers, including some from Miami-Dade County, think this is a bad idea. Legislators in the House are poised not only to gut Miami-Dade’s law — flagrantly overriding the county’s home-rule charter — they seem intent on making it nearly impossible for cheated employees to have any recourse at all. They should back off.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/27/2664426/wage-law.html

Wage War: Employers Stealing Millions from US Workers

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

MIAMI – Workers nationwide are losing millions of dollars each week to wage theft as their employers, some unscrupulous, others scrambling to keep their businesses afloat, fail to pay the mandated minimum wage or overtime wages, or, in some cases, don’t pay their employees at all.

Wage theft is far more common than was known just a few years ago, according to a new report from the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University.

Workers, advocates and community members join in an action calling on a landscaping business in the Houston area to pay its workers the more than $1,500 it owed them. (Photo courtesy of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center)

“Employers are under a tight squeeze and looking for different ways to save money. Some are using wage theft as a business model to cut costs,” said Cynthia Hernandez, co-author of the report.

The research institute’s study comes just as Florida is debating how to handle wage theft allegations. The state hasn’t had a labor department since former Gov. Jeb Bush dismantled the department a decade ago.

Miami-Dade County has an ordinance against wage theft but has been sued by the Florida Retail Federation, which hopes to overturn the ordinance. The Florida Legislature is currently considering a statewide bill on wage theft.

http://www.equalvoiceforfamilies.org/2012/wage-war-employers-stealing-millions-from-us-workers/

Report: Disney owed more than $400K in back wages

Friday, January 27th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

A report just released by a research group from Florida International University found Florida employees are losing out on millions in wages.

WFTV checked, and found that Disney was one of the biggest offenders.

Labor officials said Disney owed dozens of employees more than $430,000 in back pay between 2008 and 2010. The employees didn’t get paid for time when they worked from home.

The next closest offender owed nearly $300,000 less.

It’s called wage theft. It happens when an employer doesn’t pay you what the federal law requires.

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/report-disney-owed-more-400k-back-wages/nHHy3/

New report documents the scourge of wage theft in Florida

Thursday, January 26th, 2012   Posted in Uncategorized

Workers who were stiffed out of wages at a Broward County construction project last year (Pic by Marcos Restrepo)

A study released Thursday shows that wage theft — employers stiffing workers out of money they are owed — remains a widespread problem that affects millions of Floridians, while this week the GOP-sponsored bill that would ban local anti-wage theft ordinances moved forward in a state Senate committee.

The Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (known as RISEP) at Florida International University released its second study on wage theft in Florida that uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor and several community organizations. (Read the full report below)

http://floridaindependent.com/66083/wage-theft-epidemic

iami Lakes Workers To File Wage Theft Claims

Sunday, December 11th, 2011   Posted in Uncategorized

MIAMI LAKES (CBSMiami) – More than three dozen construction workers who claim they haven’t been paid in weeks will gather in Miami Lakes to demand their salaries.

The 35 workers were employed by a sub-contractor to build the Residences at Lakehouse. They say the sub-contractor was terminated from the job ten days and didn’t pay them. The workers went to the General Contractor, CB Constructors, but were only offered minimum wage, far less than what they were promised.

“CB Constructors let us go November 30 and I still haven’t received the $1400 that I was owed for three weeks work. This is not fair and it plays with people’s dignity,” said Raul Raudales….

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2011/12/14/miami-lakes-workers-to-file-wage-theft-claims/