Sep 03 2009

Low Wage Workers Suffer Shocking Labor Violations

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low wage workersIf unemployment rates are the clearest indication of the state of the economy, then the recession seems to be going strong. Even though the number of jobless claims in August fell from July, they were greater than anticipated by economists. These days, a job, any job, is considered a boon. But, a new study reveals that those among us in the low-wage work-force, are routinely denied overtime page and are often paid less than the minimum wage. Considered the most comprehensive look at wage violations over the last ten years, the study released yesterday, surveyed more than 4000 workers across a spectrum of low-wage industries such as the discount retail market, childcare, and apparel manufacturing. It found that a whopping 68% of workers reported pay-related violations within the past week, amounting to about 15% in lost wages. Those most affected among the low-wage workers are women, African Americans, and undocumented immigrants. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis responded to the study’s findings, saying “There is no excuse for the disregard of federal labor standards – especially those designed to protect the neediest among us.” Some have argued that the study’s findings make the clearest case for expanding and strengthening unions.

GUEST: Nik Theodore, Director of the Center for Urban Economic Development, an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago

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