Statement on Failure to Combat Wage Theft in North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director,, 336-255-2711

Statement by NC State AFL-CIO on Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry’s Failure to Combat Wage Theft

“….akin to aiding and abetting criminal activity and doing so with taxpayer money.” — MaryBe McMillan

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 15, 2015) – The North Carolina State AFL-CIO issued the following statement in response to the News & Observer investigation into failures by the North Carolina Department of Labor under Commissioner Cherie Berry to protect workers from wage theft.

“Reporting by the News & Observer has exposed the problem of wage theft in North Carolina and the reluctance of our Labor Commissioner to do anything about it,” said MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. “That Cherie Berry dismisses cases of wage theft as “bugaboos” is unconscionable.

“Wage thieves are real, they are criminals, and last year Cherie Berry let them get away with stealing $1 million from workers in North Carolina.

“Stolen wages devastate working families, and regulators victimize those families again every time they refuse to take action against deadbeat employers.

“Our state has failed unpaid workers on so many levels. Our Labor Commissioner refuses to do her job. The Department of Health and Human Services continues to contract with unscrupulous employers.  And our Governor remains silent. These failures are akin to aiding and abetting criminal activity and doing so with taxpayer money.

“If policymakers won’t take action to help workers whose wages are stolen, then voters need to take action in 2016. Working families in North Carolina deserve so much better than this.”


The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.