Interfaith Worker Justice

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IWJ in the News

Here’s How $3 Billion Is Stolen From American Workers Each Year

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Echoing the results of previous studies, the Economic Policy Institute recently noted that wage theft has reached “epidemic” levels in the United States, with millions of American workers losing wages to the practice each year.

Wage theft, an umbrella term that is defined as “the illegal withholding of wages or denial of benefits that are rightfully owed an employee,” covers a number of different violations. According to WageTheft.org, “common forms of wage theft are non-payment of overtime, not giving workers their last paycheck after a worker leaves a job, not paying for all the hours worked, not paying minimum wage, and even not paying a worker at all.”

Wage theft is particularly disheartening because of who it targets: those who both desperately need their wages, and therefore, those who are least likely to protest the injustices against them for fear of losing their job, as menial as the wages may be. “If you steal from your employer, you’re going to be hauled out of the workplace in handcuffs,” said Kim Bobo, a Chicago workers rights advocate. “But if your employer steals from you, you’ll be lucky to get your money back,” she added, per Salon.

View the full story from Business Cheat Sheet.


Saint Augustine's to host presentation on worker's rights

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Saint Augustine's Church will host an informative presentation by Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) at 1 and 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Guild Hall.

"(IWJ) is the leading national organization working to strengthen the religious community's involvement in issues of workplace justice," said Father Dean Einerson of Saint Augustine's.

Established in 1996, IWJ works to educate people on issues such as wage theft, paid sick days, jobs, protecting worker's rights and workplace standards, among other things. 

View the full story from The Northwoods River News

Welcome to the New Gilded Age: Ironworkers Seek Back Pay, Safe Working Conditions

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Accompanied by Congressman Scott Peters, local labor leaders and clergy, a group of ironworkers held a press conference outside the offices of a Japanese-based developer yesterday at an office park north of University City, asking the company to lend an ear to their grievances.

Over the last few years employers ranging from baseball’s San Francisco Giants to Subway franchises to Farmers Insurance have been cited for wage violations. More often, though, wage abuses are not reported by victims or punished by authorities despite being routine in some low-wage industries.

“If you steal from your employer, you’re going to be hauled out of the workplace in handcuffs,” said Kim Bobo, a Chicago workers rights advocate and author. “But if your employer steals from you, you’ll be lucky to get your money back.

View the full story from San Diego Free Press


The Man Whose Job Is to Make Sure Workers Get Paid

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On average, low-wage workers are only paid about 85 percent of the money they should make each week. The rest—$50 billion a year by one recent estimate—stays in the hands of employers who fudge time sheets, make employees work off the clock, or refuse to pay overtime. Last year the Obama administration tapped David Weil, a professor of economics and management, to head the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces laws against so-called wage theft.

At Obama’s request, the division is also developing a rule that would make more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay. In August, Weil announced that LinkedIn would pay almost $6 million in damages and back wages to 359 workers. “David’s smart, he’s strategic, he’s really committed on this stuff,” says Kim Bobo, executive director of labor advocacy group Interfaith Worker Justice, who helped popularize the term wage theft. “Essentially, it’s a game of triage.”

View the full story from Bloomburg Businessweek

Interfaith Worker Justice National Conference (2014)

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The Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) National Conference, this year themed “Coming Together: Building a Just Economy,” took place from June 22- June 24, 2014 in Chicago Illinois. The conference was held at DePaul University’s Student Center. Over 500 people attended the conference, including members of interfaith groups and worker centers, students, pastors, congregation leaders, and worker justice activists. Multiple faith traditions were represented, including Christians from a variety of denominations, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. Resources and translators were available in both English and Spanish throughout the conference and some workshops were conducted primarily in Spanish.

The biennial conference featured several tracks: Organizing Skills, Capacity Building, Public Policy, Workers Center, and OSHA. Each track consisted of several workshop sessions, each featuring a moderated panel of activists and faith leaders. The Organizing Skills track emphasized coalition building, tactics for community organizing, and organizational management and improvement. The Public Policy track focused on running state campaigns and advocating for policy change, specifically around fair wages for workers. The Capacity Building track included sessions about cultivating donors, managing not-for-profit finances and budget, and developing a board of directors. The Worker Centers track sought to offer leadership development techniques for young leaders, as well as best practices for membership retention. The OSHA track focused on preventing injuries and deaths at work sites.

View the full story from The Pluralism Project

The crime wave that nobody is talking about – Wage theft

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“Just Care”  at the LCUSA Assembly. The crime wave that nobody is talking about – wage theft. Kim Bobo of Interfaith Workers Justice  opened the eyes of many during the second keynote presentation at the Ladies of Charity National Assembly in Milwaukee.

The issue of a minimum wage has garnered much attention on the national scene but Kim Bob put that one issue in the  context of related ways in which workers are being defrauded of their wages.

View the full story from Famvin

Wage Theft in Kentucky Costs More Than All Other Robbery Combined

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Last week, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet released a report which found that the “money taken each year in Kentucky during all robberies combined falls well short of the total amount of wages improperly withheld from Kentucky’s workers.”

Wage theft is anything but a Kentucky problem. Kim Bobo, founder of Interfaith Worker Justice and author of Wage Theft in AmericaWhy Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid, tells BillMoyers.com, “If you eat at restaurants, shop at retail stores, hire someone to mow your grass or clean your house, get your car cleaned at a carwash, or get your nails done professionally, you probably have been served by workers who are victims of wage theft. Wage theft is a widespread crisis that hurts workers, ethical employers who are placed at a competitive disadvantage and all taxpayers.”

View the full story from BillMoyers.com

Pay Violations Rampant in Low-Wage Industries Despite Enforcement Efforts

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For workers stuck on the bottom rung, living on poverty wages is hard enough. But many also are victims of wage theft, a catch-all term for payroll abuses that cheat workers of income they are supposedly guaranteed by law.

“If you steal from your employer, you’re going to be hauled out of the workplace in handcuffs,” said Kim Bobo, a Chicago workers rights advocate and author. “But if your employer steals from you, you’ll be lucky to get your money back.

View the full story from Investigate West.

New #WEmatter Twitter Campaign Amplifies Women's Economic Security Woes

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Organizations and individuals across the country are taking to social media on Tuesday as part of a new campaign to promote policies designed to strengthen the economic security of women and families.

The launch of the social media movement coincides with Women's Equality Day, which marks the anniversary of women winning the right to vote on August 26, 1920.

View the full story from Progress Illinois

5 Ways to Honor the Sacredness of Work on Labor Day

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Earlier this summer, Pope Francis released his “Top 10 Secrets to Happiness.” Along with “live and let live” and “be giving of yourself to others” was a reminder for young people of the sacredness of work. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people, he said.

We need to be creative with young people … It’s not enough to give them food. Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home [from your own labor].

The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops beautifully describes the connection between work and human dignity, stating: “Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected — the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.”

How can we protect and uplift the dignity of work, especially when many young people are looking for work or still deciding what to do, and others who may have jobs do not always think of their work as sacred?

View the full story from Busted Halo.