Tag Archives: wage theft

Fighting for Stronger Laws against Wage Theft

Fighting for Stronger Laws against Wage Theft

By: Emily Herne

April 27, 2017

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith

Organizers from the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, Gladys Gutierrez, Taunita Jones, and intern Emily Herne along with worker Yonina Phipps attended and participated in a wage theft panel moderated by Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith Wednesday, April 26th 2017 .

 

This panel, hosted by the Minnesota Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, gathered five workers in a variety of industries that engaged the audience with their stories of wage theft and the frequency at which it occurs. These panelists were also joined by organizers from GMWC and CTUL and  Minnesota House Representative Tim Mahoney and Senator Dan Schoen. These legislators are authors of HF 1391 and SF 1329, the bill proposed to prevent wage theft.

Gutierrez mentioned the specific strategies that employers are taking to intentionally decrease the time workers can be clocked in. This includes the five minutes that poultry workers are unable to clock in until all of their gear is on. The extra 10-15 minutes a day that these workers are not being paid for adds up to nearly an hour a week. For many workers on the panel and in the audience, the seemingly small amount of work that is not being compensated affected their livelihood.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Yonina Phipps

Phipps documented a story from the 2016-17 New Year’s Eve where she was requested to work for time and a half, leaving her seven children at home. When she did not receive her pay for this night in the next check, the hoops she had to jump were complex and ongoing. As a single mother that deals with mental illness, this extra work to get compensation that she was promised is unacceptable. Two months later she finally received a check with the pay for the night, but not time and a half, which is the only reason she sacrificed time with her family that holiday.

Representative Tim Mahoney addressed the proposed legislation that is aiming to protect workers from wage theft. The changes include enforcing an immediate citation to employers for instances of wage theft under $1000 instead of processing it through court. The legislators are asking for $1 million to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to hire 5 new investigators. If this bill passes it will also change wage theft from a petty misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor that allows for a harsher punishment and the possibility of incarceration.

Although the research is out there exposing wage theft as a common and serious issue, the enforcement of penalizing wage theft has been limited. If this legislation is put through the Minnesota House and Senate, it would be a great step towards fair working practices for employees.

 

An article from Workday Minnesota features a picture of GMWC affiliate worker Phipps with Lieutenant governor Tina Smith and mentions Gutierrez speaking on the panel at :

Roundtable exposes extent of wage theft

Greater Minnesota Worker Center Luau Party

Come celebrate with GMWC at our Luau Party!
luauMartha De La Rosa, Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now, will be our keynote speaker at our 2nd annual Gala fundraiser on September 10th. We will also have a special message from Minnesota 5th Congressional District Congressman Keith Ellison.

This year has been a year of exciting growth and change at GMWC. We have seen significant development in our Poultry and SuperAmerica campaigns as well as the start of our Democracy Project. Workers are becoming leaders and as leaders they are bringing change to our community.

The #KeepUsSafeAtWork campaign is just beginning here in St Cloud and we are excited to see workers across industries stand up to demand safe work environments, with the support of the entire community.

We are excited to welcome two new staff members and several new committee, board, and worker members.

We are still here and still strong.

Tickets available Now!

Individual $30

Blue $150 admits 3

Bronze $300 admits up to 6

Silver $500 admits up to 8 1 table +program recognition

Gold $1000 admits up to 10 2 tables +program recognition and special GMWC gift

Platinum $2500 admits up to 20 3 tables+program recognition, special GMWC gift, and Honorable mention by the evenings host

When
Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (CDT) – Add to Calendar
Where
Atwood Memorial Center – 6th Street South Cascade Room, Saint Cloud, MN 56301

Buy tickets on line here: Buy Tickets Here!

The Worker Center Role in combating wage theft

An investigation by Workday Minnesota found wage theft is larger and more widespread than most people realize. Minnesotans are losing millions of dollars every year. The reports published on February 22, 2016 feature video and comments from staff of the Greater Minnesota Worker Center.

Worker centers on front lines in combating wage theft

 

Wage Theft Info Sheet