Casa Latina advances the power and well-being of Latino immigrants through employment, education, and community organizing.

Hearing at the King County Council to further address wage theft

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 5:23pm

And the fight to end wage theft continues: On Monday April 23rd at 1:30 pm there will be a hearing at the King County Council to further address wage theft.  The hearing will take place in the Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse, at 516 Third Avenue between James and Jefferson in Seattle.

We hope to have a strong turn out. So, will you support us?

The King County ordinance is the latest attempt to combat the epidemic of wage theft in our communities. The amendment requires the County to stop doing business with any company that has been convicted of wage theft.  

This is an important step because it demonstrates that the County is taking a stand against the pervasive problem of wage theft.

We hope to see you there!

Background on wage theft:

Wage theft and misclassification of workers have become a pervasive problem in the United States. The practices of not paying minimum wage, overtime, requiring workers to work “off-the-clock” and misclassifying employees as independent contractors expose thousands of workers to lower wages, labor protections, and working conditions, create a competitive disadvantage for honest employers, and rob federal, state and local governments of millions of dollars in revenue. 

Every year, over 250 Latino workers come to Casa Latina complaining that their employers refuse to pay them all or any of their paycheck.  These are workers who are unorganized workers --not members of Casa Latina and not members of any union-- and do not know where to turn. 

Casa Latina helps them file claims with Labor and Industry (if they haven't already), negotiate with the employer, and prepare a legal case against the employer (if it is feasible).  Workers who have been stiffed of their wages band together and support each other through delegations to employers and demonstrations in front of the employers’ place of business or home.  Through all of these efforts, Casa Latina has been able to recover tens of thousands of dollars each year for workers.  This is the good news. 

The bad news is that we don't recover most of the wages stolen from workers.  Even worse news is that there are employers who have decided to use wage theft as a business model and are getting away with it!

In Washington State, the community has advocated for more enforcement of wage and hour laws to address these concerns and has been able to pass the 2006 Washington State Wage Payment Act and the 2011 Seattle Ordinance criminalizing wage theft. Interested in learning more?

The reports below provide a comprehensive look at the severity of the situation around the country:

1. Discount Foundation - The Movement to End Wage Theft: A Report to the Discount Foundation

2. National Employment Law Project  - Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers:

 Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities