Wage Theft. What Is It? How can we stop it. A book Review

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Chickie's & Pete's, a restaurant chain with locations in New Jersey and Philadelphia, is famous for their Crabfries. Last month the restaurant became infamous when it agreed to pay its employees around $8.6 million in back wages to settle a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation and several lawsuits brought by its employees. Despite a federal law that prohibits managers from taking their staff's tips, restaurant owner Peter Ciarocchi seized 60% of his worker's gratuities.

Printed in English and Spanish, Wage Theft Comics is published by Interfaith Worker Justice, with the help of Fe Y Justicia, a worker center in the Houston area, as well as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

Korgen and Pyle intersperse these stories with infographics that illuminate the full scope and prevalence of the problem and the way workers can overcome the barriers in their way as they seek justice. Translating statistics into visuals has the advantage of taking something abstract and making it quickly understandable and memorable. One great example is the author’s “Path to Justice: The Wage Theft Game.” It’s an actual board game that workers can play as a way to educate themselves about the complexities and uncertainties they may face when they seek to recover their stolen wages. It gives the workers a realistic idea of what they are up against.

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