Local Worker Justice Organizations Can Help Practitioners and Noncustodial Parents Fight Wage TheftAuthor: CFFPP . Date: May 4, 2012
Wage theft and other workplace violations are “severe and widespread in the low-wage labor market,” according to a groundbreaking 2008 report titled “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers.” The report surveyed thousands of low-wage workers and found that 26% were paid less than the minimum wage in the prior week, and that 76% of those who worked overtime were not paid the required overtime rate. There were also significant racial and ethnic disparities: Latino workers were four times more likely to experience a minimum wage violation than white workers, and U.S.-born black workers were three times more likely to experience a wage violation than white workers. The report estimated that the typical full-time worker loses $2,634 per year to wage theft, or about 15% of their earned income.
Practitioners and parents who want to advocate for workplace rights, either for an individual or for their wider community, can find local worker justice organizations using an interactive map at WageTheft.org. The map includes about 200 local organizations, including both worker centers and legal clinics, that offer services and advocacy to enforce labor and employment laws. Below is a sampling of these organizations from around the country.
Florida – The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Miami (ROC-Miami) supports workers who “face injustice in their restaurant workplace.”
Illinois – The Chicago area has several organizations focused on workers’ rights, including: Chicago Workers’ Collaborative; The University of Chicago Law School’sEmployment Discrimination Project; the Chicago Legal Clinic; and Warehouse Workers for Justice.
Texas – The Equal Justice Center in Austin and San Antonio offers help with unpaid wages. The Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center offers biweekly Workers Rights Workshops, and leads the Down with Wage Theft Campaign. The campaign’s website has additional wage theft facts and answers to frequently asked questionsthat can be useful for parents and practitioners in any city.