Most of us may not be aware that growing numbers of American workers face real challenges at work around a very central issue: fair compensation for actual work performed. Not all American companies follow ethical compensation practices.
The facts reported in a recent edition of The New York Times seems a fitting "meditation" on this national Labor Day. Honoring working people is a practice we need a lot more of. Possibly the best way to honor folks who work is to join them in insisting that they receive fair and promised wages for work accomplished.
Read the report and tell me what you think:
Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: September 1, 2009
Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.
“We were all surprised by the high prevalence rate,” said Ruth Milkman, one of the study’s authors and a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York. The study, to be released on Wednesday, was financed by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.
In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.
The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.
Read the entire report here.
We should be doing better than this.