Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Department of Labor

Here's some news from James Parks in Albany:

Workers in New York State soon will be protected against wage theft by a new law. The State Assembly yesterday passed the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which will increase penalties significantly and improve enforcement of state laws on wage theft. The State Senate passed the bill in June and Gov. David Paterson (D) has vowed to sign it into law. Wage theft is a national epidemic that robs millions of workers of billions of dollars they’ve worked for but never see, says Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America and executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), which coordinated the National Day of Action Against Wage Theft last month.

In New York State, unscrupulous employers steal more than $18.4 million a week, almost $1 billion each year, from their workers by cheating them out of minimum wages and overtime pay, according to a recent study. The study by the National Employment Law Center (NELP) found that low-wage workers in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are routinely denied proper overtime pay and often are paid less than the minimum wage.

In July, Illinois enacted a law against wage theft. The New York and Illinois laws are part of a growing national focus on stemming the epidemic of wage theft. Earlier this year, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a country-wide wage theft ordinance. Several states, including Washington State, Massachusetts and New Mexico, have toughened penalties for employers who steal workers’ wages, according to IWJ Public Policy Director Ted Smukler said. In April, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis unveiled a new campaign to inform workers about their pay rights and to put a stop to wage theft.

The New York law will increase penalties, increase protection for workers who speak out about wage theft and add tools the state Department of Labor and courts can use to investigate cases and actually collect the money owed to workers.

Here's one area where workers actually have seen an improvement in the past couple of years. States like New York, and Massachusetts, now have a strong ally in U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis when they attempt to enforce labor laws. Under the Bush Regime, dishonest employers could count on a nod and a wink from the Feds. Even the most appalling and clear-cut cases were allowed to slide. Now if only we could only create a whole lot of new jobs where Americans can enjoy their rights!

1 comment:

tbelwin68 said...

You're right there's been some positive changes since 2008. But we need a lot more jobs before people are going to start feeling good again.