Low-wage workers can cheer today! On Thursday, Jan. 17, the City Council in Chicago unanimously passed an anti-wage theft ordinance. Recognized as one of strongest wage theft ordinances in the country, and the second of its kind nationally, the new ordinance could revoke business licenses for businesses found guilty of wage theft. Worker advocates attest that this new ordinance will protect vulnerable and defend ethical business.
As a collaboration between Arise Chicago and Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th ward, the new ordinance provides a much needed tool to crack down on wage theft in Chicago and ensure employers are obeying labor laws on behalf of their employees or face the consequences. It is estimated that $7.3 million of workers' wages are stolen by employers every week in Cook County alone according to the University of Illinois-Chicago's Center for Urban Economic Development.
"When workers receive their full paycheck, they spend more in their local communities, the government collects more taxes, and law-abiding businesses do not suffer from unfair competition," said Adam Kader, worker center director, in a press release this week.
This passed anti-wage theft ordinance was endorsed by the National Employment Law Project and approved by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection earlier this week and it makes Chicago the largest city in the country with an anti-wage theft legislation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel who helped co-sponsored the ordinance has pledged to sign it.
Check out ARISE Chicago's website for more information, and be sure to send them a "thank you" on social media!