wage theft

Tag archives for wage theft

Labor Day assessment of federal efforts to improve (or impede) worker safety protections

The second annual report on US worker health and safety offers a review of activities and new policies at the federal scene, and a recap on the best reporting about it by the nation’s journalists.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Wage theft at is in the news; funding’s getting cut off for a program that can help first responders know what chemicals they might be exposed to while responding to industrial fires; and California’s Occupational Health Branch warns outdoor workers about the risk of Valley Fever.

In their efforts to protect the most vulnerable workers from illegal workplace practices and conditions, worker centers have now attracted the million-dollar ire of formidable anti-union forces. And while advocates say it’s a sign of worker centers’ success, it’s still a worrisome trend that’s made it all the way to the halls of Congress.

Houston lawmakers poised to tackle wage theft

Members of Houston’s City Council held a public hearing this week to discuss a proposed ordinance to beef up sanctions against companies who don’t pay employees their lawfully owed wages. Penalties will include a prohibition from getting city contracts, permits and licenses.

Earlier this month, Florida lawmakers wrapped up their latest legislative session. And nearly 500 miles south of Tallahassee in Miami-Dade County, workers’ rights advocates breathed yet another sigh of relief.

For Angel Nava, Chicago’s newly adopted wage theft ordinance is particularly personal. Until recently, Nava had worked at the same car wash business in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for 14 years. The 55-year-old employee did it all — washing, detailing, buffing — for about 50 hours each week. Then, his boss decided to stop paying overtime.

Occupational Health News Roundup

President Obama will likely nominate Thomas Perez, currently assistant US attorney general for civil rights, to head the Department of Labor; a new report describes exploitation of undocumented workers; and children working in India’s coal mines face on-the-job hazards while missing out on education.

Texas construction workers who’ve lost their lives on unsafe worksites may be gone, but they certainly haven’t been forgotten. Earlier this week, hundreds of Texas workers and their supporters took to the streets to demand legislators do more to stop preventable injury and death on the job.

Texas may boast a booming construction sector, but a deeper look reveals an industry filled with wage theft, payroll fraud, frighteningly lax safety standards, and preventable injury and death. In reality, worker advocates say such conditions are far from the exception — instead, they’ve become the norm.

It’s Tuesday evening and as usual, the small parking lot outside the Workers Defense Project on Austin’s eastside is packed. The dusty lot is strewn with cars and pick-up trucks parked wherever they can fit and get in off the road. I’ve arrived well before the night’s activities begin, so I easily secure a spot. But my gracious guide and translator, a college intern named Alan Garcia, warns me that I might get blocked in. It happens all the time, he says.