Wage Theft Cases Continue

Our faithful wage theft committee continues to slog away at a number of cases. Many situations involve sub-contractors who have not been paid—or claim not to have been paid—by the contractor. In one of these, 5 workers are owed $8000. The committee has met with the sub-contractor who agreed to a payment schedule, which to date he has not kept. The case will be filed with the Department of Labor. Worker-complainants are beginning to submit better records of work done for which they have not been paid. One man documented non-payment for 230 hours from a local moving company. A check with the Better Business Bureau revealed that the company is a fly-by-night organization with numerous complaints filed against it. A member of the wage theft committee has spoken with the owner and there are many charges and counter-charges between owner and managers. We will continue with the case.

In a very old case, the Department of Labor investigator at long last tracked down the address of a contractor who owes a worker almost $1000 for construction work. The contractor did not respond to a subpoena so the DOL will take him to court.

A large and difficult case involving some $20,000 was finally heard in Federal Court in New York. The employer did not appear, so the worker won the case by default. Now the question is whether the money can be collected. A large law firm is handling the case on behalf of the worker.

All of these involve criminal actions on the part of self-serving employers. They attest to one of many reasons why our immigration system is broken; without some kind of help the workers are at the mercy of these immoral organizations—and even with help the odds against justice being served are long. As Dr. Hung-en Sung wrote in his article on wage theft, “The market victimizes what the state has criminalized.”

This is the time to let our federal legislators hear from us—we need a working immigration policy!

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