Each time there has been a demographic shift in America that threatens the existing balance of power, new election laws have appeared to try to insulate the electorate from the emerging population.
“This first of its kind in New Jersey, the local law allows the city to deny the renewal of operating licenses, issued annually on December 1st, if any wage theft claims against the business are not resolved. Because a business cannot remain open without an operating license, the ordinance incentivizes not only adherence to federal and state standards for minimum wage and for overtime, but also settlement of any wage disputes in a timely fashion.” Read more about the case of Irene Lopez seeking unpaid wages of $5,000 from La Hacienda Grocery Store here.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down a proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would have required private and state-managed home health care agencies to pay their employees overtime and minimum wage.
Home health attendants and aides, disproportionately African American, female wage earners—neither nurse nor maid, but a combination of both—have historically been singled out for denial of basic labor rights. The DOL issued a new rule in September of 2013, which would have finally included home-care workers under FLSA coverage. The overall rule was set to take effect on Jan. 1 of this year, but the portion struck down Wednesday was put on hold until Jan. 15 pending the court’s decision.
“The affected workers—often known as personal-care aides, home-health aides or certified nursing assistants—typically bathe, dress and feed elderly or disabled patients. A large percentage of them are hired directly by people with disabilities or their families. Others are employed by private companies that provide services. Workers typically are paid with Medicaid funds administered by states.
“Many home-health workers already are paid more than the federal minimum wage—currently $7.25 an hour—but don’t get paid time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours a week. Many also have no health-care coverage themselves.”
President Obama has announced a series of executive actions on immigration. USCIS is NOT yet accepting applications or requests for these initiatives. Visit www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction for information on when to submit a request.
Avoid Scams: Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or request at this time based on the President’s announcement—it may be an immigration scam. More information about the Executive Actions on Immigration.
Acciones Ejecutivas sobre Inmigración: No solicite todavía. El Presidente Obama anunció una serie de acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración. USCIS aún no está aceptando solicitudes o peticiones para estas iniciativas.
Evite estafas: Tenga cuidado con personas que le ofrezcan ayuda para obtener beneficios relacionados con el anuncio del presidente; podría ser una estafa de inmigración. Mas información sobre acciones ejecutivas sobre inmigración.
Visite www.uscis.gov/accionmigratoria para información sobre cuándo presentar una petición.
“Real estate database Zillow has published a map with the minimum wage required to afford the median rent in metropolitan areas across the country without spending more than 30% of income, and the numbers are simply staggering.” For example, “around San Francisco, a person needs to earn $59.72 an hour, or $119,440 a year.”
Four years after winning a lawsuit demanding $1.5 million in back wages and damages from the restaurant that employed them, none of the plaintiffs have seen any of the money. “Countless immigrants in the restaurant industry work long hours for illegal wages. And even when they get a court of law to rule in their favor, they very rarely see a penny of the money that was taken from them.” The owner shut down his restaurants and “disappeared like a ghost.”
“Cao’s story is both strange and ordinary… At every job, Cao worked 11 or 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was paid flat wages that never added up to more than $1,300 a month, always in cash, and with no such thing as overtime pay… Wage theft is an everyday occurrence in American restaurants, especially for workers like Cao. The Restaurant Opportunity Center’s study of the industry in eight major cities across the country found that 46% of workers reported overtime violations, one of the most common ways of skirting wage laws. As for New York City, the National Employment Law Project estimated in 2008 that there are overtime violations in 75% of the city’s restaurants.”
Read more here.
The goal: Paystubs for All Workers.
“Although most workers receive paystubs, as many as 20 million U.S. workers do not receive paystubs that outline how their pay is calculated or what deductions were taken from their wages.
“There is no federal requirement that employers give workers paystubs. Often, workers who don’t receive paystubs are victims of wage theft, cheated of the pay they legally earned. A Paystubs for All regulation would require employers to provide workers with the information that they are already required to keep and would help deter wage theft. Without paystubs for documentation, workers have difficulty proving wage theft.
“Interfaith Worker Justice and many worker advocates around the country are encouraging the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a simple regulation that all workers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive paystubs.” Read more here about what you can do.
“Retail warehouses don’t have to pay workers for the time they spend in security screenings to make sure they’re not stealing, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a unanimous decision that reverses a lower court’s finding that workers must be paid for that time.”
“The decision was a big loss for workers challenging the security checks, which are common among retailers. According to a brief filed by the agency, there have been 13 class-action lawsuits against Amazon and other companies involving more than 400,000 plaintiffs and seeking hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“Black Lives Matter” doesn’t just refer to cops killing unarmed teens. Here’s why it’s expanding to mean much more. Black poverty is state violence, too.
“For the second time in a week, the swelling protests against police brutality and an unequal criminal justice system coincided with planned labor strikes at low-wage employers yesterday, and for the second time, protesters joined forces, combining the struggle for a living wage with the struggle for the right to live free of police violence.
“Convenience store workers, airport workers, and home care workers joined the actions calling for $15 an hour and a union, broadening the movement still more, but what really gave Thursday its kick was the connection to the emotions (and tactics) of Ferguson activists and their nationwide supporters. Robinson and his fellow workers staged a “die-in” as part of their day of actions, in a North St. Louis convenience store, their bodies stretched between metal racks of chips and candy, clogging the space in an echo both of historic sit-down strikes (that Walmart workers also evoked two weeks back) and a reminder of the way Brown’s body lay in the street for four and a half hours after he was shot.
“Labor struggles have a long, checkered history with struggles for racial justice and particularly against violence. Black workers’ unions were central to the Civil Rights movement… Their struggle—remember the “I Am a Man” signs carried by the workers in Memphis—was always about more than just wages. It was and is about being seen as humans worthy of respect, respect they would demand if it was not freely given.”
Read more from Salon here.