Ramp up the War on Wage Theft


Unemployment may be down nationally, but that doesn’t mean the economy is doing well for workers. Too many everyday Americans aren’t receiving the pay they are supposed to be earning. The practice of wage theft is prevalent across industries and geographic locations in this country and must be stopped.

The Teamsters are currently on the front lines of this fight at the Port of Los Angeles, where the union is joining with striking port truck drivers from Pacific 9 Transportation who have been on strike since July 2015. In that case, the state Labor Commission ruled in favor of drivers in a misclassification and wage theft case last December, awarding 38 drivers nearly $7 million in stolen wages.

But that’s hardly the only instance. Los Angeles janitors just last week marched through downtown protesting wage theft within the industry. Meanwhile, in North Dakota, falling oil prices have caused many companies to go out of business, leaving many workers there in the lurch.

The good news is there seems to be redoubling of efforts to crack down on these rouge employers. In Massachusetts, for instance, local governments as well as the states are creating provisions that put teeth in the law to cut down on wage theft. And the federal government has also stepped up its game, going after industries not traditionally tied to such practices. As a result, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm just last week agreed to pay more than $330,000 in back wages to 56 workers it claimed were interns, even though they performed essential duties.

But it can’t end there. Policymakers need to restore dignity to the workplace by cracking down on unscrupulous employers who refuse to play by the rules. Treating workers fairly benefits everyone by creating a level field for companies and infusing additional dollars paid to workers into the nation’s economy.

Let’s Get America Working as it should for workers!