Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Port Drivers and NFL Cheerleaders Unlawfully Classified as "Independent Contractors"; Hawaii Raises Minimum wage to $10.10
Port truck drivers are on a 48 hour strike protesting the sweatshop conditions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Miguel Tigre drives truck and takes home about $32,000 each year. He owes $30,000 to the IRS, and another $10,000 to credit card companies. “I can go to my bank and say how much money I have, and I'm broke. But I don't cry, I got to keep doing what I'm doing," Tigre said. Port drivers are on strike to change the unlawful practice of classifying port drivers as "independent contractors" instead of employees, making it impossible to unionize and bargain for better pay and conditions.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
No Minimum Wage Protections for Many Workers; Bangladesh Workers Recount Preventable Tragedy; Exorbitant CEO pay is Driving Income Disparity
Not every low-wage worker has to be paid the minimum wage. You heard that right. Disabled workers under federal law can be paid below minimum wage if their employer applies for a special certificate. Small businesses making under $500,000 that don't do business across state lines can pay anyone below federal minimum wage and anyone under 20 years old training for a job can be paid $4.25 an hour for the first 90 days of employment.
Wages are even worse for workers in the garment industry in Bangladesh, where a year ago an eight story building collapsed killing 1,100 workers. A survivor from the Rana Plaza building collapse describes how there was a visible crack in the side of the building and how fearful workers were of going inside to work.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Victims of Wage Theft: Tipped Workers, Federal Contract Low-Wage Workers and Software Engineers
TGI Friday's was slapped with a class action lawsuit for underpaying their tipped workers. The lawsuit accuses TGI Friday's restaurant management of using a time-keeping system that shaves hours from employee's records and allows employees to work "off-the-clock" when performing side work, including cleaning the restaurant and preparing food in bulk for customers.
TGI Friday's accused of labor law violations - USA Today
It's a fact that low-wage workers suffer the most when their wages are stolen, but they aren't the only victims. A settlement is expected for 64,613 software engineers in Silicon Valley that say they lost $3 billion in wages from companies like Google, Apply, Intel and Adobe.
Wage Theft Across the Board - New York Times
It's crazy that wage theft is happening in Silicon Valley among the most profitable companies in America, but can you believe it's happening on government property in Washington, D.C.? Wage theft victims from the Ronald Reagan Building and Union Station filed complaints to the Department of Labor reporting stolen wages. The Ronald Reagan Building complaint was filed last summer. Currently, both complaints are under investigation.
Treat wage theft as a criminal offense - Washington Post
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Thank Low-wage Workers for Walking off Their Jobs; Maryland Becomes 2nd State to Increase Minimum Wage; Temp Jobs are Widening Income Inequality Gap
Workers are finally receiving additional hours at Wal-Mart, but don't thank Wal-Mart. Thank the workers that walked off the job and demanded respect from their employer. Wal-Mart wouldn't have implemented a new software program that lets workers pick-up more hours if employees weren't demanding respect, more hours and better pay at last year's strikes. "We fought for this from the beginning," Cynthia Murray, a 14-year employee who works at the Wal-Mart store in Laurel, Maryland.
It's because of people like Cynthia Murray, who walked off their Wal-Mart jobs for better working conditions and pay that the State of Maryland, just yesterday, passed a statewide minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. “We worked hard to bring people together and forge the consensus necessary to make this important progress possible,” Governor O’Malley said.
Maryland set to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018 - Washington Post
Workers are demanding higher wages, because they know their employers aren't paying them their worth. But what about workers that aren't considered employees. A contributing factor to the widening income inequality gap is contingent employment, meaning temp jobs, contract workers, part time jobs, or jobs with irregular hours. According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, One-third of the U.S. workforce (or 42.6 million workers) is contingent.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Federal Government: Don't do Business with Thieves!
The Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter this week to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez asking the Department of Labor to speed up investigations at Union Station and the Ronald Reagan building. Food-service employees at federal buildings in Washington say they have been denied overtime and paid subminimum wages.
Keeping Track: April 2, 2014 - New York Times
Victims of wage theft in federal buildings need more than to be paid back their stolen wages. The federal government needs “strong enforcement of wage-theft violations and consideration of those violations in future contract-award decisions would send a clear signal to contractors that the federal government will not do business with law-breakers,” the Congressional Progressive Caucus clarified in a letter to Labor Secretary Perez.