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Delaware Labor-Law Enforcement Cut by Half Since 2010

May 14, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WILMINGTON, Del.—The Delaware agency that enforces rules about wages and hours, occupational safety, and discrimination has had its budget cut by half since 2010, and Gov. John Carney’s proposed budget offers only a token increase. The state Labor Department’s Division of Industrial Affairs, which had 72 employees and a $12 million budget in the 2009 fiscal year, now has 66 employees and a $6.2 million budget, according to a Wilmington News Journal analysis. The governor’s proposed budget would increase that to $6.4 million. The division now has only five investigators to cover allegations of wage theft, minimum-wage violations, and child labor, director Julie Petroff told the News Journal. “That’s why these days, the construction industry is awash with contractors paying people off the books,” said Matt Capece, an attorney who represents the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. The anti-discrimination office’s staff was reduced last year from 11 to eight people, and only five of them are investigators, Petroff said, although their caseload has quadrupled since 2000. State Labor Secretary Cerron Cade said the cuts were “collateral damage” from the recession, but it would be irresponsible to just say, “We have a backlog, and we need ten more people.” Read more

May 14, 2018

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