When you go to work, you expect to get paid. Yet many of the people who serve our food, work in retail, or care for our kids and seniors regularly see their hard-earned wages stolen by shady employers.
Can you donate one hour’s worth of the state minimum wage – $8 – to fight wage theft in NJ?
In 2013, NJ voters raised the minimum wage. It was a big win, but a minimum wage is only as effective as it is enforceable. National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it best on a radio show yesterday:
“There are many types of wage theft. You can be violating the minimum wage law. You can be violating the paycheck deductions. You can have tip violations, not paying overtime, shorting of hours, delayed or mispayment of wages. You don’t have many prosecutors that are very interested in prosecuting these things. It’s theft and it can even be more than that because, sometimes, cheating workers out of wages is a business model or a business strategy.”
That’s right. Stealing wages from workers is a business model for many employers who prey on people already struggling to make ends meet. Recently the New York Times exposed the horrifying working conditions in nail salons, where workers were sometimes paid just $3 an hour while being exposed to hazardous chemicals for upwards of 12 hours a day.
Unfortunately, New Jersey’s wage protections lack real teeth – and we have a governor who has opposed every major worker’s rights bill put on his desk.
That’s why this month New Jersey Working Families teamed up with low-wage workers, community leaders and local elected officials to advance anti-wage-theft laws in Jersey City and Newark. Now we’ll use the momentum off of these back to back victories to bring wage theft protections to other communities – and eventually statewide.