April 5, 2016
By Ernesto Arce
Workers Independent News
New York , NY – Advocates for low wage workers say that Los Angeles is the wage theft capital of the united states and that without a properly staffed local office, many workers might not have the ability to earn $15 per hour come January, 2022. Ernesto Arce has more from Los Angeles.
According to the UCLA labor study, low wage workers in Los Angeles lose more than $26.2 million dollars each week to wage theft. Last fall, Los Angeles County officials formed a Wage Enforcement Program to ensure wages are paid fairly and in a timely manner. Tia Koonse with the UCLA Labor Center, said a state agency tasked with investigating such alleged crimes has a serious backlog.
[Tia Koonse]: “It’s actually unlawful to pay anybody less than minimum wage. and undocumented workers must be paid, and are eligible for every single wage-and-hour right that their documented counterparts are.”
Koonse joined the Los Angeles Coalition Against Wage Theft in calling for a county-wide ordinance with enough funding to go after unscrupulous employers. The new office will begin operating on June 1 to deal with investigations, education, outreach, negotiations, and settlement of non paid wages. Critics of the creation of a county program argued that the state should be responsible for enforcement and that the money could be used for other services. Advocates say wage-theft complaints previously filed with the California Labor Commissioners Office took too long to be investigated and left workers waiting months to receive their back pay. To hear the audio click the following link