Nationally, billions of dollars in wages are stolen from workers each year by employers ranging from small neighborhood businesses to Wal-Mart. Wage theft occurs when workers are not paid all their wages, workers are denied overtime when they should be paid it, or workers aren’t paid at all for work they’ve performed. The problem has reached epidemic proportions in Miami-Dade County, hitting low-income women workers and immigrant workers the hardest.
FLS staff as well as staff of the CJP have provided support to the Wage Theft Task Force, an (unincorporated) coalition of over a dozen religious, labor and community organizations who seek to have Miami- Dade County amend it’s human and civil rights ordinance (Chapter 11A, County Code) to give the County’s Equal Opportunity Board authority to hear claims of “wage theft,” wage nonpayments. FLS/CJP has counseled the coalition on a range of policy matters related to wage nonpayment and has drafted and edited a proposed ordinance, the “Wage Theft Amendment,” based on the task force’s changing priorities. In 2010 Miami-Dade County passed the Wage Theft Ordinance, establishing an enforcement mechanism for returning lost wages to low income workers.
FLS/CJP has continued it’s support of the work of WeCount!, a human rights membership organization in Homestead, FL, in its efforts to advocate for the rights of day laborers. FLS/CJP has provided support to WeCount by conducting regular “case reviews” regarding troublesome cases or recurring initiatives; consulting on local legislative and policy initiatives; and developing and helping to conduct “know your rights” workshops for WeCount!’s membership. FLS/CJP has also represented individual or small groups of low -wage workers referred by WeCount in order to recover unpaid and under-paid wages.