It was a good week for the fight against wage theft. Cook County, Illinois, passed an ordinance intended to protect workers from wage theft
Under the ordinance, companies or business owners found guilty of wage theft are barred for five years from obtaining Cook County procurement contracts, business licenses or property tax incentives. Also, companies pursuing business with the county will now have to certify compliance with federal and state wage and labor laws. [...]
Kader said wage theft is "very prevalent here in Chicago, as well as the county at large." Arise Chicago cites a 2010 University of Illinois at Chicago study that estimated workers in Cook County lose more than $7.3 million every week because of wage theft.
Wage theft is a big deal, as those numbers show—bigger than robbery
, in fact. And in New York, some workers are getting back what was stolen from them
A Papa John’s pizza franchise in New York must pay its workers nearly $800,000 in unpaid wages over allegations the business underpaid employees and failed to pay overtime, a state judge ruled last week.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in December sued Emstar Pizza Inc., which operates seven Papa John’s franchise locations in Brooklyn and Queens, alleging that Emstar underreported hours worked by employees over the past six years, rounded employee hours down to the nearest hour, and did not pay overtime.
This isn't the first time Schneiderman has helped get workers a substantial judgment or settlement for wage theft; last year, a group of Domino's workers
got a $448,00 wage theft settlement and a group of McDonald's workers
got a $500,000 settlement.
Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's labor and education news.
A fair day's wage
- The effects of the 2014 elections are going to be ugly all year, but here's one that looks like it could be worse:
A bill that would make Missouri the latest state to adopt so-called right-to-work laws or policies passed the Republican-controlled House here on Thursday, but without enough votes to override an expected veto from the Democratic governor.
The business groups and conservatives that have for years pushed for a Missouri right-to-work law had hoped they would have enough votes this year to enact the measure, which failed last year. But Thursday’s vote, in which 23 Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure, suggested that the bill might again die this year.
- Kevin Drum says there's a labor dispute at west coast ports, but no one will say what it's about. That may be because it's a big issue that's a lot more complicated than one single dispute.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership, written in secret, could cost U.S. jobs.
- A Kentucky state House committee said no to an anti-union bill.
- Paid leave has momentum, but there are still powerful forces working against it. What are the business lobby groups working against paid leave?
- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore isn't the only state official putting himself above the Supreme Court. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is joining him:
“The governor seems to think he has the authority to overrule binding Supreme Court precedent,” Malin said by email, of Rauner’s contention that fair share fees are unconstitutional despite the Abood ruling. “In neither Knox nor Harris [prior cases] did the Supreme Court overrule Abood, and only the Supreme Court has the authority to overrule its prior decisions.”
Rauner’s press secretary, Catherine Kelly, said in an email to Al Jazeera that the Supreme Court described the Abood decision as “questionable on several grounds” in its 2014 Harris v. Quinn majority opinion.
- Did Jimmy John's fire yet another worker for supporting a union?
- United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard explains some of the safety concerns behind the ongoing oil workers strike.
- Another victory for low-wage college teachers: Boston University adjuncts vote overwhelmingly to unionize.