The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ted Smukler, Interfaith Worker Justice, 773-206-6776,
Danny Postel, Interfaith Worker Justice, 773-728-8400 x24,

Thousands Across U.S. Mobilize Against Wage Theft

Actions, Protests, Vigils in 30+ Cities to Stand Up for Unpaid Workers


On a telephone press conference on November 17 at 11 a.m. EST, faith leaders and workers rights advocates will kick off the November 18 National Day of Action Against Wage Theft,as thousands of people in more than 30 cities across the countrymobilize to stand up for workers whose employers deny them wagesthey've rightfully earned.

More than 30 national organizations and hundreds of workers and faith leaders affiliated with Interfaith Worker Justice will participate in actions on Thursday, November 18in Albany, New York; Austin, Texas; Bangor, Maine; Boston; Chicago;Cincinnati; Denver; Detroit; El Paso, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas;Grand Rapids, Michigan; Houston; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Los Angeles;Madison, Wisconsin; Memphis; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tennessee;New Orleans; New York City; Lakewood, New Jersey; Philadelphia; SanFrancisco; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle; South Bend, Indiana;Syracuse, New York; Tucson, Arizona; Washington, DC; and other cities.

WHAT: Telephone press conference launching the National Day of Action Against Wage Theft


WHEN: Wednesday, November 17, 11 a.m. EST

CALL-IN INFO: 888-674-0222, Call ID: Wage Theft

RSVP: Please RSVP to Kristin Williams at Faith in Public Life to reserve your place on the call (, 202-459-8625).

OnWednesday's press call, Rebecca Fuentes from Syracuse will discuss howtheir local worker center is fighting for workers so badly abused bytheir employer that they were impoverished to the point ofmalnutrition. Leaders from Wisconsin and Colorado will share more abouttheir local actions, including a rally outside a local DistrictAttorney's office to demand the prosecution of wage theft cases and apublic event with testimonies about wage theft from day laborers,attorneys, and the Department of Labor. Other actions around thecountry include:

Albany, New York

Make the Road New York is holding a press event in the state capitol to advocate the passage of a state anti-wage theft law.


The Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center is holding a rally to protest the Hamilton Avenue Animal Hospital and Clinic, which has literally robbed overtime wages from workers.

El Paso, Texas

The Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project is holding a "Worst Employer Awards" to highlight the most egregious violators of workers' rights in the area.


The Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center is sending a "Justice Bus" to shame and draw attention to local businesses that steal their workers' wages.


In front of the Federal Building, the Workers Interfaith Networkwill fill a shopping cart with items workers can't afford because ofwage theft and stage a dramatization with an employer removing a stringof 130 $20 bills from a worker's pocket - the average annual amountlost to wage theft per worker.

Otherinnovative local events include a text messaging/call your Congressmancampaign in support of wage theft legislation, "Know Your Rights"workshops for workers, a jazz funeral to bury wage theft in front of arestaurant that steals wages, and a Thanksgiving-themed auction offoods representing different forms of wage theft.

Onefocus of the National Day of Action will be the need to strengthen theenforcement of wage and hour laws, support community wage theftprevention programs, and prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. State laws to stop wage theft have already passed in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, and a first-ever county ordinance was passed in Miami-Dade County.

"Asthe crisis for working families in the economy has deepened, so too hasthe crisis of wage theft," said Interfaith Worker Justice ExecutiveDirector Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America. "TheNational Day of Action Against Wage Theft Day will engage religiousleaders, low-wage workers, community organizations, unions and alliesin setting forth principles of justice and fairness, especially inrough economic times."

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize, and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.