Network Solidarity Wins Wage Theft Fight in Florida

Wage theft is often the most prominent issue IWJ affiliate organizations face. When South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice called for help from its allies in the network to protect Miami-Dade County’s wage theft ordinance, the network understood. And they stood up.

South Florida IWJ won its unique county-wide wage theft ordinance in 2010, and several other worker centers in places like Houston, New Jersey, Arkansas and Michigan are currently engaged in campaigns to win similar laws.  However, the Florida Retail Federation, one of the strongest corporate lobbies in the state, tried to kill the young ordinance at the state level. South Florida IWJ responded by targeting state lawmakers and Macy’s, whose Vice President chairs the Florida Retail Federation, and then called on the IWJ network to join with them.

Within hours, the Madison Workers’ Rights Center in Wisconsin, the Southern Maine Worker Center, and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha in Minneapolis organized solidarity actions. In Madison, the worker center picketed a Macy's. Patrick Hickey, director of the worker center, spoke with the store manager. She told Hickey that she didn't like Macy's being associated with wage theft. He responded, "Neither do we." 

South Florida IWJ also partnered with IWJ national to garner 6,000 signatures in a national online petition. More than 70 faith leaders in Florida signed a separate petition that supported Miami-Dade's wage theft ordinance. Macy's got the message. Soon even a board chairman of Macy's in Cincinnati was calling on the Florida Retail Federation to calm the storm.

In part, because of the efforts of South Florida IWJ and its allies in the Network, the Florida state legislature did not roll back Miami-Dade’s wage theft law. This is solidarity at work!

Join the IWJ Worker Center Network in stopping wage theft! To learn more about the national campaign, contact Dianne Enriquez, Worker Center Network Coordinator, at denriquez@iwj.org

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