Wage Theft occurs everywhere in the country, and it is a surprise to many that it happens not just in urban centers and the victims are not only undocumented workers. All sorts of workers have their wages, tips, overtime and last paychecks stolen: your neighbor, your friend, maybe even your spouse or your child.
We have problems retrieving that money, even when there is a Department of Labor judgement or a Small Claims judgement. If only the Assembly would pass the bill that the Senate OKed five months ago, we would have more power to collect that money. There would be fines and even, in some cases, jail time, for those who steal wages.
Why should you be concerned? Even if you’re not a compassionate person who believes that our neighbor should get each and every hard-earned dollar they deserve, there are practical reasons to support the Wage Theft Prevention Bill. First of all, many of the victims are low wage earners who would be using that money to support local businesses by loading up on groceries, paying rent and buying shoes for their toddler’s feet.
Also, the government of NY loses tax dollars with every lost paycheck. And we all will suffer next year when the inevitable cuts to education, public parks, roads and other programs come down the pike. The whole community loses when a worker’s paycheck is stolen.
What can you do? Call NYS Assembly speaker Sheldon Silvers’ office NOW and strongly urge him to tell his Assembly followers to pass the Wage Theft bill as it was passed by the Senate. You can call his chief of staff Judy Rapfogelâ€™s at 518-455-3791 in Albany or in NYC at 212-312-1400.