Wage Theft and Unemployment

Our friends at National Employment Law Project and the a few of their pals (notably the other 98%, True Majority, Americans for Responsible Taxation and US Action) are asking everyone to contact their Senators tomorrow, Tuesday November 16, to support those Americans who are unemployed and about to lose their Unemployment benefits. Here is their message:

Congress is about to make a choice that will define this moment in history: Support those unemployed by this recession, or give tax cuts to millionaires.

Your Senators need to hear from you today! Please call right now. Tell them you’re a constituent. Tell them that they should vote to continue unemployment insurance to the end of 2011, AND that if they are serious about reducing the deficit they will NOT extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires.

We don’t have a choice – if Congress fails to continue the unemployment programs, 2 million people in December alone will be left with no income. In the next five months it will be almost 6 million people. Local economies will be devastated if the unemployed have no income to spend in local stores, which could result in over 700,000 MORE people losing their jobs!

We can either support hard-working Americans who are out of a job through no fault of their own, or support millionaires who are doing just fine on their own.

Here is the contact information for our Senators:

Chuck Schumer, 212-486-4430 in NYC, 315-423-5471 Syracuse

Kirstin Gillibrand, 212-688-6262 NYC, 315-448-0470 Syracuse


Our office mate Neil rushed into the Workers’ Center to alert us to listen to the Thom Hartmann radio program this morning. Thom’s show is on WNYY, 1470AM Progressive Radio. He was spotlighting Wage Theft; Interfaith Worker Justice’s director Kim Bobo was his guest. Kim spoke about the November 18th National Day of Action against Wage Theft. Visit Thom’s page for the link to listen to the conversation.Kim also talked about a particularly egregious wage theft case which involved immigrant workers, visiting the US with temporary work visas, who were kept imprisoned in vermin-infested trailers without adequate food and water. Against the employer’s wishes, several workers went to the emergency room where they were treated for infected bites from fleas and ticks, starvation and dehydration. More on this case later since it is still in litigation and specifics could damage the compensation for the workers.

In the meantime, visit IWJ’s Wage Theft page to learn more and to see how you can participate in the fight against what is now legal thievery. IWJ has an excellent film, Wage Theft: The Crime Wave No One Talks About, on their homepage.