May 22, 2017
Sign our petition to tell state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, our “Reluctant Regulator” to use her power to crack down on minimum wage violators in North Carolina!
The North Carolina Department of Labor allowed deadbeat employers to steal $1 million in wages from their employees last year. When those 617 workers turned to their Labor Commissioner, Cherie Berry, for help, she turned them away, closing their cases almost as soon as they had been opened, according to reporting by Mandy Locke at the News & Observer about our “Reluctant Regulator”.
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with Mandy Locke, investigative reporter for the Raleigh News & Observer, that full program on worker misclassification is now available online.
“Jobs should lift workers out of poverty, not trap them in it,” said Carolyn Smith of Working America.
National epidemic robbing both Peter and Paul Thursday, November 18, was National Day of Action to Stop Wage Theft, sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ). Wage theft is a national criminal epidemic that steals billions of dollars every year from millions of hard working Americans: Wage theft is the pervasive and illegal practice of not […]
Minimum Wage, Workers’ Comp, Overtime laws violated routinely This may come as little surprise to our readers, members, and activists in the labor movement. A new study, “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers,” reveals that employers regularly violate wage and hour laws for their low-wage employees. Workers who can least afford it are the most likely to […]
This investigation clearly shows that the Department of Labor has left thousands of actual victims of wage theft who sought federal government assistance with nowhere to turn.
That’s the conclusion of an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a report released this week at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and Labor. The GAO found that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is failing in its job to investigate complaints of wage, hour, and child labor violations, essentially giving employers carte blanche to rob their workers blind.
Undercover GAO investigators posed as fictitious complainants and contacted Wage and Hour district offices around the United States to complain about gross violations of the law, including one case where dozens of children were said to be operating dangerous machinery in a meat packing plant during school hours. The GAO later revealed WHD not only didn’t investigate, they didn’t even make a record of the complaint.
In other cases, WHD tried discouraging one undercover investigator from filing a complaint, first by encouraging him to “just have a nice conversation” with his employer, then by suggesting that filing a complaint could get him fired.
In his testimony before Congress, Greg Kutz, Managing Director of Forensic Audits and Special Investigations for GAO said results of this investigation show that the 15 cases brought before the committee last summer were “just the tip of the iceberg”:
I am concerned that thousands of victims of wage theft become frustrated with the complaint intake process and never actually file complaints with Labor. Thousands of others who file complaints find themselves victims of unscrupulous employers who know how to beat the system.
George Miller (D-CA) who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor, pointed out that failure to investigate overtime, minimum wage, and child labor violations of the law are not trivial:
Those most vulnerable to wage theft are likely bearing the brunt of our nation’s economic crisis. Families where a breadwinner has his or her wages stolen still have rent to pay, mouths to feed, children to clothe, and medicine to buy. They can’t afford to be paid less than what the law says.
Simply put, when a business pockets wages due to its workers, it is theft. And it is illegal.
You may have to listen to the recordings for yourself to believe just how outrageous it is when the very department charged with protecting workers from violations of wage, hour, and child labor laws becomes the prime obstacle to justice for workers:
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred and forty-thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working people.