Tag Archives: State – Iowa
Wage ‘theft’ tab in Iowa: $600 million
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized
About 266,000 low-wage Iowans lose an estimated $600 million annually from unscrupulous employers who fail to pay overtime, confiscate tips or take other pay-robbing actions, Iowa Policy Project said in a report on Monday.
“Workers’ hard-earned wages are being stolen, the state is losing revenues, and good businesses are being put at a market disadvantage against shifty competitors,” said Colin Gordon, a senior research consultant at Iowa Policy Project, a nonprofit Iowa City research group.
The state also loses out — an estimated $60 million in revenue annually because of theft, the group said in the report.
Gordon said the Iowa numbers were extrapolated using data that included a 2009 National Employment Law Project report. It concluded, based on surveys of low-wage earners in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, that two-thirds experienced wage theft in a given week…
Wage Theft bill introduced in Iowa!
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized
Wage theft and worker misclassification are rampant problems for workers in Iowa and across the country. According to a national study, over $16 billion dollars in unpaid wages are stolen from employees every year by employers who don’t pay minimum wage, don’t pay overtime, make illegal deductions, force workers to work off the clock, or don’t even pay at all.
Not only are employees not getting paid, but they are unable to pay rent, buy food, or other necessities, which has a reverberating economic impact on the community.
Iowa CCI Action members worked with Senator Bill Dotzler last year to pass a wage theft protection bill through the Iowa Senate.
Now it’s on to the Iowa House of Representatives where Rep. Bruce Hunter introduced our bill (House File 2060) last week. The bill was assigned to the House Labor Committee and will have a subcommittee hearing in the upcoming weeks. We’ll be sure to bring members to give testimony and advocate for the bill!
About the bill:
HF2060 would provide more protection for workers who report wage theft and make it easier for Iowa Workforce Development to investigate bad employers who don’t pay their workers.
- It would require stricter record-keeping standards so both employer and employee understand the pay agreement before work starts, which would make it harder for employers to steal wages and give workers more proof if they do.
- It would provide workers protection from potential retaliation from their employer.
An hour’s work deserves an hour’s pay, no matter which way you cut it. Unfortunately, Iowa’s workers need more protection from unscrupulous employers who short-change their employees. Stay tuned for more information on how you can support workers’ rights at the Statehouse.
Iowa should crack down on wage thieves
Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized
Few crimes are more contemptible than wage theft.
When an employer stiffs a worker of promised wages, the employer is not just stealing money from the worker. The employer has stolen hours of someone else’s life.
It is all the more despicable because victims tend to be poor and powerless. They are often day laborers, young people or immigrants who have no means of forcing employers to pay what they promised.
Imagine yourself at the bottom rungs of the labor ladder. You jump at the chance for a few days’ work that might at least pay the rent, but at the end of the week there is no pay. The wages you have been promised are refused, or the check you have been given bounces.
You have no leverage to force the employer to pay. You might complain to the state Labor Department, but it’s your word against the employer’s. Besides, the one investigator assigned to wage theft has a huge backlog of cases. It will be months before you see any redress, if ever. In the meantime, the rent is still unpaid and the children still need to eat.
Of all the crimes perpetrated against the poor, wage theft is among the most cruel.
The activist group Citizens for Community Improvement has shown a spotlight on wage theft in Iowa, uncovering what is either an alarming increase in wage theft or an increase in reporting of the crime. Either way, it is ….
Iowa’s anti wage-theft bill hits a snag
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized
An effort to curb wage theft in Iowa hit a snag after the House Labor Committee Chairman said today that he has no interest in burdening employers.
The issue centers around Iowa businesses that fail to pay their employees wages, which Latino advocates say has sharply increased in recent months.
The state has one employee who investigates such complaints and that person currently juggles about 175 cases at once. That means that the cases can take months and even years to resolve.
Citizen advocates say the inability to act quickly results in injustice and brings about incredible hardships upon working families.
The proposed solution is Senate File 311, a bill that would require employers to keep signed documentation to show wages and allowed deductions. Such documentation would greatly reduce legal fees and expedite investigations, Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil said today.
The bill passed the Senate but looks less likely in the House. Rep. Lance Horbach, the House Labor Committee Chairman, said the bill would create additional regulatory burdens upon good-acting businesses.
“I am supportive of hammering those employers…
Growing number of Latino workers report they aren’t paid wages
Monday, March 21st, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized
Complaints about unpaid wages among Latinos in central Iowa have sharply increased in the past four months, immigrant advocates say.
The surge, fueled by increased coverage of the issue in the Latino press, has allowed Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to recoup more than $80,000 in unpaid wages from 11 employers since October.
“It’s either a growing problem, or it’s a problem that’s getting exposed, and we’re seeing a lot of it,” said CCI development director Sharon Zanders- Ackiss, whose group fields wage complaint calls daily.
Dave Neil, the departing state labor commissioner, said wage complaints often take months to reach the desk of the one state employee who juggles about 175 cases at once.
A bill that Neil says would speed the complaint process has reached the Republican-controlled House, where its prospects are unclear. It passed the Senate on March 8 with support only from Democrats.
The bill, now under consideration by a House…
WAGE THEFT: A new bill at the statehouse aims to stamp-out “wage theft” in Iowa.
Saturday, February 19th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized
The organization, Citizens for Community Improvement, have filed complaints against employers, and they support a new bill meant to combat wage theft. Channel 13 was there Saturday, as workers took their complaints to the employers’ homes.
It seems like an odd way to spend a Saturday. Handing out flyers that bad-mouth a guy to his neighbors. But the Citizens for Community Improvement say the business owner who lives in the blue house could have avoided this. They say he could have paid the guys he hired to do construction.
“At first he says we’ll pay you every fifteen days, and then fifteen days go by and we don’t get paid.” Says Jesus Vasquez. Jesus explains that the boss owes him, and a few others, more than $3500.
Jesus says, “It seems like he owes me the most. Ever since I’ve worked with him, he just kind of carries me along, just giving me little pieces of money and I never get the full amount of money that I was promised for each job.
Jesus and nine other workers represented by CCI need the money to support their families. They are immigrants who claim to be affected by wage theft. It’s illegal. And it’s more common than you think.
Ruth Schultz of the Iowa CCI says, “We’ve had some other cases that we were working with low-income white youth who weren’t getting paid minimum wage.”
The law already penalizes businesses that don’t pay for hours worked. It’s a $500 state fine for every infraction for every pay period. Senate file would better enforce it. It would protect workers who file grievances.
Ruth says, “But then also, workers can receive interest, up to two-times the amount that they were owed.” …And what he is owed, is what…