Weak wage theft laws reaffirm the need for our work

Adam DeRose |

IWJ and our affiliates have long known legal protection for workers against wage theft is weak in communities across the country.  But a recent report from the Progressive States Network shows us just how poor states are at protecting private sector workers.

PSN wage theft reportThe report graded states based on their legal protections for workers, and paints a dim picture for low-wage workers in nearly every state.

By the numbers:

  •  64 percent of low-wage workers experience wage theft each week
  • 26 percent of low-wage workers are paid under the legal minimum wage
  • 76 percent of workers owed overtime go unpaid or underpaid

"Our research shows that states’ wage theft laws are grossly inadequate, contributing to a rising trend in workplace violations that affects millions of people throughout the country,” the PSN said of the report.

Affiliates in the IWJ’s worker center network are working across county, state and industry lines to stop wage theft by developing local campaigns targeting unethical employers with state laws, local ordinances and city task forces or committees.

“Wage Theft is a problem that effects all kinds of workers in many different industries and hurts families and communities,” said IWJ Worker Center Coordinator Dianne Enriquez. “Communities are building and passing wage theft enforcement ordinances in areas that are typically very conservative and it is clear that this is because people are tired of unethical employers stealing from them.”

In this tough economic time, working people need your help more than ever. Join local IWJ affiliates in efforts to stop wage theft in your community.