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Wage Law Enforcement

Wage Theft by Employers Surging in Wake of Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law, Even as Judge Blocks Implementation of Key Provisions

The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice, a worker center in Phoenix, has seen a “huge spike” in wage theft -- violations of minimum wage laws -- since the passage of SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law.  "Employers are even more brazen in their mistreatment of workers," said Executive Director Trina Zelle in an interview with In These Times.  "Increasingly, 'Go ahead, try and make me pay you' is the response workers hear when they confront their employers over unpaid wages."

State Strategies to Advance Workers’ Rights: Policy Options for 2011

This policy guide presents a series of state strategies to advance workers rights that have strong public support and present good opportunities to reframe the debates over workers’ rights and the economy as values issues, including: Paid Sick Days, Wage Law Enforcement, and Restoring the Minimum Wage.

Wage Law Enforcement State Trend: Illinois Becomes Most Recent State to Crack Down on Wage Theft

A crime wave has been sweeping Illinois, with surveys of low-wage workers in the Chicago area showing an average of 146,300 cases of wage theft each week -- resulting in about $7.3 million each week in unpaid wages, or $380 million stolen from workers each year.  In order to crack down on this criminal wage theft, the Illinois General Assembly on May 3 nearly unanimously (56-0 in the Senate and 112-1 in the House) passed SB 3568, which will strengthen the state’s ability to enforce violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Promoting Wage Law Enforcement Policies in 2010

Progressive States Network will be working with state leaders around the country to promote policies to improve enforcement of minimum wage, overtime and related wage laws in the states.  This Dispatch will highlight the chronic wage violations in the workplace, model wage law enforcement language for states to promote, messaging to support those campaigns, and specific ways such an approach has the added benefit of undercutting anti-immigrant attacks in the states.

RELEASE: Policy recommendations from Corzine panel would put NJ at forefront of immigration reform

JERSEY CITY, NJ — At a press conference this morning, Gov. Jon Corzine unveiled the results of his Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration Policy, which included recommendations for the establishment of an Office on New Americans to help integrate immigrant families into the state’s culture and work force.  Policy experts at the Progressive States Network (PSN) were quick to praise the panel’s recommendations, which they placed within an emerging trend among state lawmakers to include working immigrant families into plans for shared economic growth.

According to PSN Interim Executive Director Nathan Newman, who authored a comprehensive 50-state analysis of state immigration policy last September, “The story that states are rushing out to punish undocumented immigrants is really a smoke screen. When you look at the facts, you see that more and more states are finding ways to integrate immigrants into a growing workforce and thriving small business community.  States like New Jersey realize that there is a far better economic future in working together than there is in dividing the population against itself.”

Obama's labor secretary pick backs enforcement

President Obama's pick for secretary of labor, Rep. Hilda Solis, could help shape a new approach to immigration control that emphasizes the robust enforcement of labor laws.

Where the Bush administration stepped up workplace immigration enforcement, sweeping up migrant workers and not always going after the employers who illegally hire them, the Obama administration is expected to take a different tack.

Immigrant advocates hope that strengthening compliance with workplace health and safety laws and wage and hour standards - which Solis promised in her hearing before the labor committee in January - will protect workers in general and could reduce the likelihood that some employers will seek to profit by hiring undocumented workers.

The Crisis of Wage Theft

The Crisis of Wage Theft

Billions of dollars in wages are being illegally stolen from millions of workers each and every year, writes Kim Bobo, in this excerpt from her new book Wage Theft in America (The New Press)

By Kim Bobo November 24, 2008

A few years ago, I heard about a garment factory near my house where workers weren't making the minimum wa