For Immediate Release
Interfaith Worker Advocates Strike Out Against Wage Theft, Join Occupiers on National Day of Action
NATIONWIDE - Huge crowds are expected at Zuccotti Park and in cities across the country later today to celebrate the two-month anniversary of the Occupy movement. Interfaith worker advocates will be there. But, first, they are taking care of business – and taking on unethical business owners who cheat their workers, the government and their ethical competitors by committing wage theft.
Workers Centers in the Interfaith Worker Justice network are holding actions in 20 cities today on the third annual National Day of Action against Wage Theft. The theme of this year’s day of action is Just Jobs.
“Everybody agrees that we need jobs,” says Kim Bobo, Executive Director of IWJ. “But we need just jobs – jobs with pay and benefits you can support a family on, with an employer who doesn’t steal your wages from you.” Bobo is a national expert on wage theft; she testified before the US House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections last week.
“Wage theft is a crisis in America,” Bobo says. It happens when employers pay less than the minimum wage; misclassify workers as independent contractors, allowing employers to shirk their share of payroll taxes and illegally deny workers overtime pay; withhold final paychecks and fail to pay their workers at all. Low wage and immigrant workers are especially vulnerable.
Actions scheduled for today include:
- Houston – Workers who have suffered wage theft and community supporters climb aboard the justice bus to visit five companies who cheat their workers out of wages.
- Ithaca – The Tompkins County Workers Center kicks off an intense worker outreach and public education campaign, involving canvassing of retail locations across county.
- New Brunswick – The New Labor Workers' Center is picketing outside a local warehouse to inform workers of Wage and Hour violations.
- Madison – The Workers' Rights Center holds workplace rights training sessions for Spanish-speaking workers, held in conjunction with the four-day visit from the Mobile Mexican Consulate.
- Fayetteville – The Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center hosts a public forum on wage theft moderated by State Representative Greg Leding, District 92, sponsor of HB1881 (an anti-wage theft bill). Worker advocates also hold an Informational Picket at a local restaurant to demand the employer pay back wages owed to workers.
- San Francisco – Young Workers United hosts a public forum at Occupy San Francisco.
Several actions are taking place in conjunction with Occupy events scheduled for across the country today.
For a list of National Day of Action events taking place around the country visit http://www.iwj.org/index.cfm/
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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.