Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wage Theft Is A Crime, Unions Are The Crime Busters

One of the growing stories across the nation is the stunningly high levels of wage theft, where employers don't pay their workers for all the hours they work, don't  pay for overtime and short their checks.  The focus has been primarily on the fast food industry and megacorporations like Walmart.

But the problem is widespread and occurs in almost all areas of work, including contractors.

In Seattle, one such contractor, Dathan Williams, was just convicted and sentenced to jail for wage theft.  Williams would hire undocumented people and pay them just a fraction of what he was supposed to pay them.  If they complained, he'd threaten to call ICE on them and have them deported.

It's important to note that Williams was only caught because the unions gathered the information about Williams' crimes and presented them to the district attorney, as well as the crimes of other contractors:
In a statement Friday, leaders with the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters thanked law enforcement and Labor & Industries for pursuing Williams while asserting that others continue to perpetrate similar abuses.

“The truth is (Williams) is just one of many contractors who operate their construction businesses this way,” council communications director Ben Basom said in a statement. “He is just one small piece of an enormous pie.”

Union representatives went to police in October 2010 with broad complaints against subcontractors working throughout the Northwest.

They had received complaints from drywall installers who were putting in 17 or more hours a day, seven days a week, that they were being paid $50 to $100 a day. At the time, the prevailing wage for those positions was $46 an hour.

Employed by subcontractors, most of the workers were immigrants in the U.S. illegally and brought to job sites by labor brokers. Workers who protested were fired and threatened with deportation; union representatives told police one subcontractor threatened workers with a pistol when they complained.

State Department of Labor & Industries inspectors involved in the investigation recounted a report that an injured worker was dragged from a work site by a subcontractor hoping to avoid an insurance claim. The unions also reported workers being paid with cocaine and other illegal drugs.

L&I investigators and union representatives separately contended subcontractors forged documents to dodge wage requirements. The unions collected extensive records related to the thefts and threats, which had been made to both union and non-union workers.
Is it any wonder why the corporate controlled Teapublicans are fighting so hard to try to bust unions and put in right to work laws across the country? With unions around, they aren't able to exploit workers, ignore the law and maximize their profits.

When you see someone griping about and smearing the unions, like this dope, keep in  mind that they are promoting nothing more than plantation economics and recognize them as just another useful fool for the big corporations and banks that have been ripping us off for decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment