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Report: Confronting the "Gloves-Off" Economy of Broken Labor Standards

In Confronting the Gloves-Off Economy: America's Broken Labor Standards and How to Fix Them, researchers detail how growing numbers of employers are breaking, bending, or evading long-established laws and standards designed to protect workers, from the minimum wage to job safety rules to the right to organize. This "gloves-off economy," no longer confined to a marginal set of sweatshops and fly-by-night small businesses, is sending shock waves into every corner of the low-wage -- and sometimes not so low-wage -- labor market. 

In a report by some of the same authors,  Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities, published as a collaboration by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the Center for Economic Policy Research, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, and the National Employment Law Project, includes telling statistics on abuses in the low-wage workplace:

  • 68 percent of the workers interviewed for the study had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.
  • Under employer pressure,only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.

Both reports recommend more rigorous laws for enforcement against employers violating the law and highlight successful campaigns around the country to stand up for low-wage workers.