40 Actions Taken across US to Stop Wage Theft

For Immediate Release

Interfaith Worker Justice
Contact: 

Danny Postel | Communications Coordinator |
(773) 728-8400 x24 | dpostel@iwj.org

 

40 Actions Taken across US to Stop Wage Theft

rom Grassroots to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage Theft Campaign Moves Forward

Nationwide - Wage theft has been
called “the crime wave no one talks about,” but now that’s
changing. Last Thursday, people in more than 40 cities around the country
not only talked about the national
crisis – one that annually robs
millions of workers
– but took
a variety of concrete steps
to combat it.

Workers,
community organizers, public officials and religious leaders in communities
from coast to coast stood together as part of the National
Day of Action to Stop Wage Theft

coordinated by the national network Interfaith
Worker Justice
.

  • At
    the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, State
    Senator Sue Morano announced the Wage
    Protection Act
    , new legislation that would expand the Ohio state
    government’s enforcement capacity on wage violations;
  • Miami-Dade
    County Commissioner Natasha Seijas and members of the South Florida Wage
    Theft Task Force decried the pervasiveness of wage theft in the region and
    announced a
    pending local ordinance
    to combat it;
  • In
    Memphis, the Workers Interfaith Network released
    the results of a survey
    it conducted of local low-wage workers, 68
    percent of whom reported not being paid for all the hours they’d worked;
  • In
    Chicago, four Polish workers each owed over $10,000 by a contractor,
    together with religious leaders and organizers with the Arise Chicago
    Worker Center, announced
    a lawsuit
    for back wages at one of the contractor’s current work
    sites;
  • A
    rally
    and press
    conference were held at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison,
    workers and members of the clergy joined with the Workers’ Rights
    Center to demand both state and federal government measures to combat wage
    theft;
  • At
    a press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) joined workers who
    have been cheated of their wages, religious leaders, and IWJ Executive Director
    Kim Bobo,
    whose 2008 book Wage
    Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting
    Paid—And What We Can Do About It
    exposed the national
    crisis and has become a rallying cry for the campaign to end it;
  • Also
    in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda
    Solis announced
    increased enforcement and outreach efforts
    in the department’s
    Wage and Hour Division, including a national public awareness campaign titled
    to inform workers about their rights. “We will not rest until the
    law is followed by every employer, and each worker is treated and
    compensated fairly,” Solis said in a statement. (For more actions
    around the country, see here.)

“A great deal of
work remains to be done to stop wage theft, but Thursday’s National Day
of Action was a watershed moment in this campaign,” says Bobo. Secretary
Solis said she “will not rest until the law is followed by every
employer, and each worker is treated and compensated fairly – and neither
will we at Interfaith Worker Justice.”

“As we pause this Thanksgiving to remember all that
we are thankful for, we also remember the workers across the nation whose wages
are stolen and struggle to put a meal on their holiday table. We must put an
end to this national scandal of wage theft,” says Thomas
Shellabarger
of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For more information, visit www.iwj.org and www.wagetheft.org.

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