Several legislators joined the Coalition to End Wage Theft – a united group of workers, contractors, and businesses who have been harmed by wage theft – to voice their support for a bipartisan bill seeking to create rules to prevent wage exploitation and penalize employers who attempt to cheat workers out of promised compensation.
At the press conference, speakers from a variety of professions shared personal stories of instances in which they were denied wages for hours worked – often for sums totaling in the thousands of dollars. These workers, alongside their families, are left with few options to pursue the pay that is owed to them, and frequently unfair employers can avoid any serious repercussions after failing to provide due compensation.
Several other speakers brought attention to the prevalence of wage theft in certain industries, including restaurants, manual labor, and homecare – as well as the disproportionate impact of wage theft on immigrant workers, persons of color, and low-income employees. In 2016, the Department of Labor and Industry estimated that wage theft impacted more than 39,000 Minnesotans, for a total sum of at least $11.9 million.
Wage theft today takes many forms, including uncounted overtime, minimum wage violations, tip confiscation, and forced off-the-clock work. The Senate DFL is committed to ensuring that all workers receive fair pay for their labor and will continue to pursue legislation that prevents unfair businesses from exploiting their employees and contractors.