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Minimum Wage

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.

Wal-Mart Deal for Higher Wages in Chicago Highlights Need for Industry-Specific Wage Legislation

For the first time in the nation, Wal-Mart has agreed to a higher wage standard at a new store to be built in Chicago, Illinois.  The retail giant’s commitment was part of an agreement to assure City Council support for zoning approvals, on which the Council voted Wednesday.  The deal also concludes a six-year fight over what will be only Wal-Mart’s second store in the Windy City.  As we reported previously, Wal-Mart reached a stalemate with labor unions in 2006, after the City Council passed an industry-specific wage standard for big box retailers, which was later vetoed by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Workplace Standards for Domestic Workers: Breakthrough NY Legislation Approved

On June 1, the New York Senate put the state in position to be first in the nation to enact a Domestic Workers' Rights law (S2311) by a vote of 33-28. The New York Assembly led the way in June 2009 when it passed its own version of the bill (A1470). This groundbreaking legislation will extend core labor rights, from fair labor standards to paid sick days, to creating a framework for collective bargaining, to domestic workers. This will include those employed to work in a private home to perform housekeeping and/or to care for children, the infirm, or the elderly.

Public Employees Earn Substantially Less than Private Sector Counterparts

Refuting right-wing attacks on state workers, a new report by the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) and the Council on State and Local Government Excellence (CSGE), Out of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20 Years, demonstrates that state and local employees earn an average of 11 and 12 percent less, respectively, than comparable private sector workers.

Washington State Latest to Sign Bill Against Wage Theft

Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill to combat wage theft this week, adding Washington to a growing number of states and counties, including Miami-Dade County, cracking down on employers who underpay workers (many of them undocumented immigrants) and violate minimum wage and overtime rules.