Labor Standards Outreach Program        
Our Labor Standards Program helps Seattle workers with minimum wage, wage theft and paid sick time issues. Please contact Enrique at (206) 973-4290 or eespinosa@elcentrodelaraza.org to learn more. Nuestro programa de normas laborales ayuda a trabajadores con problemas de salario mínimo, robo de salario, y pago por ausencia de enfermdad, dentro la cuidad de Seattle. […]
          Sonic Drive In Gets Department of Labor Help to Stop Wage Theft        

The U.S. Department of Labor and Sonic Drive In, the nation’s largest drive-in restaurant chain have signed a voluntary agreement to help Sonic’s 3,000+ drive in franchise locations comply with federal labor laws. Sonic has been one of a number of fast food restaurants that have been hit with wage theft lawsuits complaining that workers have had … Continue reading Sonic Drive In Gets Department of Labor Help to Stop Wage Theft

The post Sonic Drive In Gets Department of Labor Help to Stop Wage Theft appeared first on New York Restaurant Worker Rights – Wages, Training & more WaiterPay.com.


          Buca di Beppo Cheated Workers Out of Wages, According to Wage Theft Lawsuit        

A wage theft lawsuit claims the Times Square location of Buca di Beppo, a nationwide Italian restaurant, failed to pay its workers minimum wages and overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law.  According to a former server, Buca di Beppo maintained a policy of cheating … Continue reading Buca di Beppo Cheated Workers Out of Wages, According to Wage Theft Lawsuit

The post Buca di Beppo Cheated Workers Out of Wages, According to Wage Theft Lawsuit appeared first on New York Restaurant Worker Rights – Wages, Training & more WaiterPay.com.


          Minimum Wage and Overtime: Holding Employers Accountable for Depriving Employees of Basic Pay        

As surprising as it may seem, some employers still fail to pay their employees proper minimum wage and overtime under California law. Recently, the California Department of Industrial Relations issued wage theft citations of roughly $16 million against several California … Continue reading

The post Minimum Wage and Overtime: Holding Employers Accountable for Depriving Employees of Basic Pay appeared first on CA Employee Rights Lawyer.


          OK PolicyCast: Episode 7        

In this week's OK PolicyCast, we talk about a new event series aimed at growing citizen involvement across Oklahoma. We also discuss controversy over militarized police in Oklahoma, and a private firm that has been training police officers to seize cash from drivers at highway stops, even though they have not been charged with a crime.

We also talk about a push to increase the tipped minimum wage for Oklahoma service workers, a new study on wage theft, and how rising court fees are feeding Oklahoma's incarceration crisis, as well as what the City of Tulsa is doing to prepare for climate change and attract millenials.


          Comment on Wage theft victims have little chance of recouping pay in Illinois by Ronald Williams EL        
Well in my movement here in one of my home towns I have notice how corrupt some of the the things have become but I have also notice how the take overs in some zones have no laws matter of fact what law! In some zones many area's exspecailly in the so called low income area's" Murder is allowed and what comes along with it forgive if I write what's on my mine and the problem is you can be killed speaking the truth" Allow me to explain when I was another part of the world there was a very powerful group which warned me about speaking the truth! They had so much power they controlled most of the 5 star and 6 star orgainzation ran by a higher group that also control most of the" Sunday meetings each and every Sunday and I most tell you that many of these so called ministers,precher's, deacons, pastors,in which many I have asked for help to stop the madness of the thinning out of our bloodline" NO-ne of them would answer my call nor speak on the topic when confront I suspect if they did their way of living would be altered.
          Proposed state law cracks down on "wage theft" to keep companies from short-changing workers on pay.        
Some Ohio companies occasionally short-change their workers on pay. Critics call that "wage theft" and are proposing a new state law to crack down on the practice.
          Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Orders Concerning Salary Issues        
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has unveiled his annual State of the State proposals for 2017, which include new salary reporting requirements for state contractors, a prohibition on salary history inquiries to job applicants by state agencies, and proposed legislation aimed at punishing wage theft, among other initiatives. Executive Order 162, signed by Governor Cuomo on January 9, 2017, will require state contractors and subcontractors to report job title and salary data for all employees working on state contracts, in addition to the data on gender, race, and ethnicity that is currently required. If an employer cannot identify the individuals working directly on a State contract, it will be required to report such information for its entire workforce. State agencies and authorities are required to include provisions mandating such reporting in all contracts, agreements, and procurements issued and executed on or after June 1, 2017. Executive Order 162 requires monthly reporting on all contracts in excess of $100,000 and quarterly reporting all contracts in excess of $25,000. The form of these reports, and the manner for reporting, has been delegated to the New York State Department of Economic Development, which will be issuing regulations pursuant to this Executive Order. Governor Cuomo's issuance of Executive Order 162 comes on the heels of the September 2016 amendments by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the Employer Information Report (or "EEO-1"). The new EEO-1 would require employers with 100 or more employees and government contractors with at least 50 employees and a contract of at least $50,000 to report summary pay data in aggregate form according to a set of pay bands starting in March 2018. Under a separate Executive Order also signed by Governor Cuomo on January 9, 2017 (Executive Order 161), state agencies are prohibited from inquiring about or relying on a job applicant's salary history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. The announcement is the latest in an emerging trend in cities and states to prohibit or restrict salary inquiries. Governor Cuomo's Executive Order, which applies only to State agencies, suggests he will support S.24, a state bill introduced in January that would prohibit salary inquiries by private employers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio executed a similar measure in November 2016 prohibiting salary inquiries by City agencies. The New York City Council, with Mayor de Blasio's support, is also expected to pass legislation prohibiting such inquiries by private employers. Governor Cuomo also announced legislation targeting wage theft. One bill would hold the top ten shareholders of out-of-state limited liability companies ("LLCs") personally liable for wage theft claims, extending an existing law that applies to in-state LLCs and both in- and out-of-state corporations. According to Cuomo, the legislation is intended to provide relief for claimants seeking damages from bankrupt companies. Governor Cuomo also announced legislation to "empower the Labor Commissioner to directly enforce all wage liabilities on behalf of workers with unpaid wage claims" but did not provide further details. Finally, Governor Cuomo announced legislation that would require the state to give preference to American-made goods and products in any new procurement contracts of $100,000 or more. To qualify as "American-made" under the Governor's proposal, "end manufacturing processes should take place in the United States and more than sixty percent of the components of the manufactured good should be of domestic origin." Governor Cuomo's Executive Orders and announcements are another sign of a continuing trend by federal, state and local jurisdictions focusing on compensation related issues. State contractors in particular should be cognizant of the new reporting requirements, which will likely be more burdensome and take effect sooner than their Federal counterparts. This post was authored by Matt Lampe, Martin Schmelkin, and Michael Casertano of Jones Day. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jones Day or the New York State Bar Association.
          UPDATE: Bill Eliminating New York's Annual Wage Notice Requirement Takes Effect        

On February 27, 2015, 60 days after Governor Cuomo signed it, a bill (A08106C / S05885-B) became effective that amends the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act to eliminate the annual wage notice requirement.  This means that moving forward, employers do not have to distribute annual wage notices to all employees.

 

The newly-effective law also increases penalties for certain violations of the New York wage law.  More details on these changes can be found in our previous post by clicking here.  Employers should evaluate any revisions that might be needed to their practices in light of this amendment.  

 

This post was authored by Matt Lampe, Emilie Hendee, and Laura Jean Eichten of Jones Day.  The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jones Day or the New York State Bar Association.

 


          New York Mandatory Pay Notices: What Employers Need to Know        

While employers generally provide detailed information to new hires about their pay, New York law now requires employers to provide written notice to employees when they are hired.  A failure to provide the required written documentation may result in civil money penalties up to $5,000 per employee. 

Pursuant to the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), written pay … Continue Reading


          Firms Win Judgment, Totaling Over $25,000.00, on Behalf of Three Dental Managers Wrongfully Denied Overtime Pay        

More and more frequently, employers are evading the legal requirement to pay overtime to their employees by choosing to pay them on a salaried basis instead of an hourly wage, and then telling the employees that they’re not entitled to overtime because they have an “exempt” job title. But often this practice amounts to nothing more than illegal wage theft from workers who should be classified as hourly and are being denied overtime pay that they deserve.


          New "Wage Theft Prevention Act" Toughens Penalties for Employers        

          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          New Workers Compensation Laws California 2013        
New Workers Compensation Laws California 2013

New California Laws For 2013 (Part 31)
Part 31 in an ongoing series highlighting the new California laws for 2013. ... Read News

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CALIFORNIA’S WORKERSCOMPENSATION PROGRAM
CALIFORNIA’S WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROGRAM Changes to the Medical Payment System Should Produce Savings Although We recommended that to fully realize the savings from the new reforms to the workers’ compensation medical payment system, ... Get Doc

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California Legislative Update - Winston & Strawn LLP
Employers should review these new laws and adjust their As of January 1, 2013, California Labor Code Section 2751 will be amended such that any employment any contractor’s workers’ compensation insurers to require the ... Fetch Full Source

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CALIFORNIA WORKERS' COMPENSATION RATE COMPARISON
CALIFORNIA WORKERS' COMPENSATION RATE COMPARISON Class Code: 0005 Sorted by Rates Rec Effective Date 1 22357 Hartford Accident & Ind Co 5.25 3/1/2013 2 19445 National Union Fire Ins Co Of Pitts 637.13 1/1/2013 3 23841 New Hampshire Ins Co 637.13 1/1/2013 ... Retrieve Document

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Guidebook For Employers In New Mexico
Under the New Mexico workers’ compensation law 2013 Edition This book is based upon the law and rules in effect in 2013. Laws and rules can change by half of highest-cost states such as California, supporting economic development for both ... View Full Source

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NEW CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAWS
NEW CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAWS November 2012 Effective January 1, 2013, new employment laws will affect both public and private employers with employees working in California. break protections for domestic workers, and AB 1450, ... Read Here

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Your WorkersCompensation Benefits - California Department ...
2013. What is workers’ compensation? books, tools, licenses or certification fees, or other resources to help you find a new job. You are eligible for this voucher if: You have a permanent disability. benefits and obligations under California's workers' compensation laws. ... Read Content

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FINDING OF EMERGENCY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIAL ...
Chapter 363), the major provisions of which take effect on January 1, 2013. Summary of Existing Laws Labor Code section 4603.6, as enacted in SB 863, establishes an independent bill review (IBR) process, which is new to the California workers’ compensation system. Previously, ... Read Content

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Summary 2012 WorkersCompensation Reforms
2013. The MEI in recent years has been 2-3%. Allows a second IMR if either party has new or different information that was not presented to Two other Workers’ Compensation bills that passed in the last days of session. ... Access Doc

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2011 New Employment Laws - California Update
2011 New Employment Laws – California Update Page 1 of 2 As an workers' compensation insurance, even if they have no employees. This requirement was set to expire on January 1, 2011, and is now extended until January 1, 2013. Additionally, after January 1, 2011, any ... Read Document

Wage - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
- Different laws by State - Link to Fair Labor Practices - Link to An Workers' compensation; Workplace phobia; Workplace wellness; Equality: Affirmative action; By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. ... Read Article

Wage And Salary Information - Job Search, Interview ...
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage discrimination between female and male workers in the same establishment who perform jobs that require the same skills in similar working including laws regulating hours worked, Here is a list of minimum wage rates for each state for 2013. ... Read Article

Changes In California Workers Comp And The Senate Bill 863 ...
Guide new. Popular on YouTube; Music; Sports; Gaming; Movies; TV Shows; News; Governor Brown signed the Senate Bill 863 in reagrd to the California Workers Compensation laws. Find out what George Francis, 25:31 Gov Jerry Brown State of the State 2013 by L4NER619 937 views ... View Video

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Opinion Page Opinion
FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013, LANCASTER, PA., PAGE A10 People Poll: Was the Iraq War worth it? whose compensation exceeded $300,000 in 2012. Four of those local laws prohibited discrimina-tion on the basis of sexual orienta- ... Visit Document

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SB863 Cost Saving Implications For California Employers 12-10-12
New workers compensation legislation promises increased benefits and reduced costs Dec. 19, 2012 – On January 1, 2013, many components to the recently passed workers compensation legislation (SB 863) very familiar with California workers compensation laws, ... Visit Document

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The City Of La Puente Invites Applications For
• Assists with workers' compensation, and liability insurance claims. • Federal, State, and local laws, rules, and regulations. • Principles, practices, In 2013, the City will observe 10 paid holidays. ... Fetch Content

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c A L I F O R N I A
2013 Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California. An entity is dissolved or non-operative and a new entity is formed. c. Death claims reported as clearly within the scope of the workers’ compensation laws of California ... Access Doc

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2013 California Compliance Catalog
The new California Labor Law Digest every year. It’s a must. Kim Urban, Protect coverage due to potential mandatory changes during 2013 to the workers’ compensation notice. at-a-glance icons identify new content, laws ... Document Retrieval

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National Consumer Law Firm, 1-800-LAW-FIRM, PLLC Is Suing Garda, The Armored Car Company To Recoup Alleged Lost Wages ...
Ari Kresch, founder of 1800-LAW-FIRM, is no stranger to the news. He was recently nominated for 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year and now is suing Garda. (PRWeb April 04, 2013) Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10577344.htm ... Read News

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New California Employment LawsNew California Employment Laws ...
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Another New Wave Of Employment Laws In California
Wage statements and Wage Theft Notice for temporary workers, and laws on social media and religious dress in the workplace. loss of compensation to the employee is permitted. “New California Employment Laws for 2013: ... Read More

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SPECIAL REPORT New California Employment Laws Effective In 2013
Compliance Challenges in 2013 California has passed several new laws which impact all employers with California employees. religious accommodation requirements for employers with workers in California. The law, signed on September 8, 2012, Compensation Only for the Employees Regular, ... Retrieve Here

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California PIT withholding is based on the amount of wages paid, What’s New in 2013? Beginning with the 2013 California Employer’s Guide stay in compliance with state payroll tax laws by visiting the EDD’s seminar website at ... Access Document

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Contractors Face New Laws In 2013
Contractors Face New Laws in 2013 . AB 2119 - Workers' compensation insurance coverage; roofers Brings California’s False Claims Act into conformity with federal law by defining the term “obligation” ... Read Full Source

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Unemployment insurance benefits are available for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. The unemployment compensation you will receive will depend upon the amount you earned while working. Unemployment Benefits for 2013; New York Unemployment Guide ... Read Article

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NEW CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT LAWS FOR 2013
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          New Year Brings New Set of Wage Notification Obligations for NY Employers        

By Michael W. Macomber On Dec. 10, 2010, then-Gov. David Patterson signed into law the Wage Theft Protection Act (WTPA). The act amends a number of provisions in New York’s Labor Law and has the stated aim of expanding “the …

The post New Year Brings New Set of Wage Notification Obligations for NY Employers appeared first on Albany NY Lawyer | Washington DC Attorney | San Diego CA Attorney | Colonie | Saratoga | Schenectady | Troy | Tully Rinckey PLLC.


          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Defying Silence: Immigrant Women Workers, Wage Theft, and Anti-Retaliation Policy in the States        
A recent New York Times exposé highlighted the inner workings of the nail salon industry in New York City, and revealed to the public how rampant wage theft props up an industry that relies on low-wage, undocumented women workers. New York’s response provides a starting point to consider how governments should respond to wage theft as it affects undocumented women. There are various legal regimes available for responding to wage theft, but each presents serious shortcomings when it intersects with the immigration system, primarily because of the threat of retaliation. As federal protections are weak or exacerbate the victimization of undocumented women, states should strengthen anti-retaliation protections specific to undocumented workers. California passed legislation in this area which New York should adopt. While the protections provided in California’s legislation would strengthen each of the various legal regimes discussed, they would also empower undocumented women to break the silence imposed by retaliation and tell narratives that resist victimization.
          First Annual Written Pay Notice under the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Due by February 1, 2012        
This post was authored by Matt Lampe, Joseph Bernasky, and Jenny Ma of Jones Day. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jones Day or the New York State Bar Association.
2012 is the first year that private-sector New York employers must provide the annual written pay notice required by the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Although the initial passage of the Wage Theft Prevention Act over a year ago garnered significant attention, it is worth reiterating now that the February 1 deadline for provision of the annual notice is rapidly approaching and employers should use the remaining time to ensure compliance with the new notice obligations. On December 14, 2010, then-Governor David Paterson signed the Wage Theft Prevention Act, S. 8380/ A. 11726 (the "Act"), into law in New York State, which amended Section 195 of the New York Labor Law. Joining a growing number of states with similar wage theft legislation, the Act sought to address classification of employees and payment of statutorily-mandated minimum wages and overtime, and included enhanced civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance. In effect since April 9, 2011, the requirements applies to all private-sector employers in New York. Under the Act, every employee, whether full or part-time, whether covered by a union contract or not, and regardless of exempt status, must receive a written pay notice between January 1 and February 1 of each year, including the following information:
•the employee's rate of pay, including overtime rate of pay, if non-exempt; •the basis of the wage payment (e.g., by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or other); •the regular payday; •the allowances taken as part of the minimum wage (e.g., tip, meal and lodging deductions); •the employer's official name and any other "doing business as" names; and •the address and phone number of the employer's main office or principal location, and mailing address if different.
2012 is the first year that employers must provide the annual written pay notice, which applies even if none of the information has changed from the prior year. Under the Act, the notice must be provided in English and in the employee's primary language if the New York Department of Labor ("NY DOL") offers a translation. Currently, the NY DOL offers dual language translations in Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish, all of which are available here. Employers with seasonal employees on layoff between January 1 and February 1 must furnish the notice as soon as the employees return from layoff. The notice may be distributed electronically, but only if employees' receipt of the notice and acknowledgment is verifiable and if the employee is able to print a copy for their records. In addition, the Act requires employers to obtain a signed and dated acknowledgment of the notice from each employee. Employers must retain copies of the notice and accompanying acknowledgment for six years, and provide them to the NY DOL upon request. If an employee refuses to acknowledge the notice, an employer should still give the notice and note the refusal on its retained copy. Moreover, an employee cannot waive the written notice requirement. The NY DOL can assess penalties of $50 per week per employee if a proper written notice is not provided, and employees can sue for not receiving a proper written notice with damages capped at $2,500 per employee. With the February 1, 2012 deadline rapidly approaching, employers should take any remaining steps necessary for to meet the annual notice requirements. The NY DOL provides web-based, printable model templates for employers seeking guidance, which are available here. The Act does not require the use of these particular forms, and employers may develop their own forms so long as all the information legally required is included. The NY DOL has also published a Fact Sheet on the Act, available here, and a set of FAQs, available here.
This post originally appeared on the LENY blog from NYSBA's Labor and Employment Law Section.
          W2T – 107 – Fine Advice, a little patronizing        
This episode we look through the lens of stoicism to cover: – Aaron’s transit woes – Wage theft and what to do – Why white nationalism isn’t benign – Headlines and more...
          More companies engaged in employee wage theft        
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          In A Lawsuit, New York Accuses Domino's Pizza Of Wage Theft        
One of the country's largest pizza chains faces a lawsuit over alleged wage theft. New York's attorney general accuses Domino's Pizza of systematically undercounting the hours worked by employees at its franchises. The case could deliver big changes in the fast-food industry and beyond. When you own a Domino's franchise there are some rules you just have to follow. "Domino's does not only control how many pepperonis are on each pizza, or how fast pizza should be delivered; Domino's exercises [control] over all key aspects of employment relationships," says New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He says Domino's parent company encourages its franchisees to use payroll software known as Pulse. "The Pulse system which Domino's required all franchises to use systematically undercalculates workers' wages," Schneiderman says. "This is widespread, systemic illegality, and it victimizes some of the most vulnerable workers in our state." In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Schneiderman alleges
          Tip Skimming from Waitstaff is a Serious and Under-Reported Problem        
Food safety is about more than just pathogens and pesticides. It’s also about making sure that the people who grow, process, cook, and serve our food have safe working conditions and are treated fairly: Image Credits: Los Angeles Coalition Against Wage Theft (available at UCLA Labor Center website). Tips provide a substantial portion of restaurant […]
          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Is Franchising Still Worth It?        

7-Eleven and the franchising sector have been in the headlines lately, but for all the wrong reasons. Allegations of wage theft have surfaced, and further claims that a “half-pay scam” had the complicit involvement of senior management. The claims include fiddling with time sheets, “ghost” workers, nil penalty payments and alleged rates of as little […]

The post Is Franchising Still Worth It? appeared first on Barassi & Co.


          El Workers’ Studio at BRIC House        
On April 17th, we hosted the Workers’ Studio Family Day at BRIC House. On this day, labor workers and leaders from many community organizations came together to occupy the gallery space to share their experiences in the process of making the Jornalero app, while spreading the word about their campaign fighting wage theft. Families who … Sigue leyendo El Workers’ Studio at BRIC House
          A Phone App Helps Day Laborers Attack Wage Theft        
2016-03-06 03:37:31 - Slashdot Your Rights Online : An anonymous reader writes with this story from the New York Times, excerpting After three years of planning, an immigrant rights group in Jackson Heights is set to start a smartphone app for day laborers, a new digital tool with many uses Workers will be able to rate employers think Yelp or Uber , log their hours and wages, take pictures of job sites and help identify, down to the color and make of a car, employers with a history of withholding wages They will also be able to send instant alerts to other workers The advocacy group will safeguard the information and work with lawyers to negotiate payment Adds the submitter Although I completely support the app, personally, I see this encountering some significant legal challenges Hope they've lawyered up Though the use case is different, this is similar in spirit to cop watch apps, like Cell411 and the ACLU's Mobile Justice And of course there's Periscope IMAGE IMAGE Share on Google Read more of this story at Slashdot
          Wage Hike in Haiti Doesn’t Address Factory Abuses        
By Jane Regan, IPS
December 3, 2013

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 3 2013 (IPS) - Haiti’s minimum wage will nudge up 12 percent on Jan. 1, from 4.65 to 5.23 dollars (or 200 to 225 gourdes) per day. Calculated hourly, it will go from 58 to 65 cents, before taxes.

But the raise will not affect Haiti’s 30,000 assembly factory workers, who are supposed to already be receiving about seven dollars for an eight-hour day – about 87 cents per hour. Recent studies have found rampant wage theft at almost two dozen of the factories that stitch clothing for companies like Gap and Walmart.[...]

Read the full article:
http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/12/wage-hike-haiti-doesnt-address-factory-abuses/
          Stand With Haitian Workers for a Living Wage!        
On November 29th, after years of delay and wage theft, a minimum wage increase will be announced in
Haiti. Batay Ouvriye (Workers' Struggle), an autonomous workers' organization, is mobilizing around the country to demand an increase to 500 gourdes (approximately $11.50)--the minimum for a family to survive.

The current minimum wage is only 300 gourdes (85 cents/hour), and even that is not being paid by the factories. Most receive only 200 gourdes (57 cents/hour).

Batay Ouvriye is mobilizing around the country for workers to voice their demands, what they say they actually need for a minimum wage. This takes money to travel, print thousands of flyers, host trainings and protests.

The US-based organization One Struggle has set up an indiegogo campaign to raise $3,200 to help pay for the mobilization in Haiti. To learn more and to contribute, go to:
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stand-with-haitian-workers-for-a-living-wage

For more information on the minimum wage situation, go to:
http://inthesetimes.org/working/entry/14391/7_per_day_haiti_anti-sweatshop_revival/
http://inthesetimes.com/uprising/entry/14685/surveillance_beatings_firings_how_apparel_companies_suppress_the_minimum_wa/
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/world/americas/group-says-haitian-garment-workers-are-shortchanged-on-pay.html
          Trump Policies That Hurt Workers May Be New Wedge Issue        

Chatting on her front porch with a Working America organizer named Sara, Phylis, an 87-year-old voter in Columbus, Ohio, talked about her views on good jobs and President Trump. “I wouldn't think much of him if he took away safety standards,” she said.

Phylis has good reason to be worried. In 2015, 4,836 workers were killed on the job in the United States, and nearly 3.7 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported.

What surprised me is that Phylis is a Trump voter who strongly supports him on nearly every other issue. Unfazed by his ties to Russia, conflicts of interest, and cabinet appointments, Phylis didn’t stop to reconsider her choice—until Sara raised the threats to job safety in Trump’s budget. And that’s an important lesson for all of us.

She, and the thousands of other Trump voters we talk to every week, didn’t show up at the Women’s March and don’t connect with the resistance. Phylis is one of millions of people we call “searchers”—Trump voters who are not ideologues, but are sincerely, even desperately looking for a way out of an increasingly grim economic future for their families. That’s where issues like workplace safety and equal pay come in.

My organization, Working America, which represents 3 million members in working-class communities around the country, recently asked nearly 1,000 swing voters in central Ohio to reflect on Trump’s first 100 days. We had in-depth discussions with people who were neither strong Republicans nor strong Democrats, were likely to vote in 2018, and had a household income under $75,000. Forty-three percent were Trump voters, 38 percent voted for Clinton, with the rest a combination of people who didn’t share their presidential choice, voted for a third-party candidate, or didn’t vote. Sixty-one percent were women. Our goal with this report was to reach a large share of the 2012 Obama voters who swung away from Clinton in 2016 and to learn how best to change their minds.

When we asked people where they get information, cable TV was the overwhelming answer, with Fox being a favorite of Trump supporters. Fox, of course, carefully selects the news it promotes and, more importantly, interprets it to benefit a right-wing agenda. That means that many women aren’t hearing about Trump administration actions that affect their lives. They didn’t hear, for example, that Trump recently revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, which ensures companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. Revoking this order directly affects women’s access to fair pay and safety from workplace harassment, assault, and discrimination. Federal contractors don’t have to disclose sexual harassment problems in the workplace, unsafe working conditions, wage theft, or other violations of labor law.

The order also reverses the ban on forced arbitration, also known as “cover-up clauses,” which is used to keep sex discrimination claims out of the courts and out of public view. Contractors won’t be held accountable to their employees.

Trump’s order puts women’s safety—and ultimately, their lives—at risk. In 2015 alone, workplace violence caused more than 700 deaths and more than 26,000 serious injuries, leaving workers physically and emotionally scarred for life. Outside of his order, Trump’s proposed budget would slash the Department of Labor’s budget by 21 percent, eliminate worker safety training programs and the Chemical Safety Board, and cut the job safety reach of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health by $100 million.

The good news from the field is that giving people information about just these kinds of issues is what gets their attention and introduces doubt. In our report, 39 percent of the women we spoke to disapproved of Trump’s performance as president overall. However, 55 percent of women we spoke to disapprove of his position on pay and workplace safety.

There’s room to offer new information to connect with swing voters. During the Front Porch Focus Group study, our canvassers found it didn’t work to dispute Fox News’ talking points. Rather, offering new information about Trump’s policies broke through and showed just how out of step they are with the needs of working people.

Those of us in the resistance can reach out to the searchers, not by telling them they are wrong, but by giving them information about how the actions of the Trump administration will affect them, actions like revoking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order. It is these kinds of face-to-face conversations over time that will break through the Fox News stranglehold and begin to create common ground.

While the swing voters we speak to may never wear pink hats, we can still reach them. You can read our latest Front Porch Focus Group report to learn how, too.


          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          As Arizona’s Demand For Migrant Farm Labor Grows, So Do Concerns About Fair Treatment        

Early summer is watermelon season in the Harquahala Valley, about an hour west of downtown Phoenix. After a day of harvesting, white buses brought migrant workers to the Rio Valley Market. The family-owned restaurant and general store sells anything from cooking spices to underwear.

The farmworkers came to the United States on a temporary visa called an H-2A. On a recent afternoon, when the temperature hovered around 105 degrees, they filed into Rio Valley Market wearing sweat-stained clothes from the fields. Their mood was light as they paid for popsicles, soda, chips and beer.

“Farm work here is easier because you make more money,” said 38-year-old Marco Raul Medrano, who grew corn and beans in his native Guatemala.

The farm Medrano works for gives him food, shelter and transportation, which means the Rio Valley Market might be his only contract with the outside world.

Experts say total dependency on the employer leads to isolation, making H-2A workers vulnerable to abuse. Demand for migrant farmworkers has grown in recent years, stretching government resources to oversee the H-2A program.

The U.S. Department of Labor has touted a civil lawsuit filed in May against an Arizona farm as part of increased efforts to punish bad actors. Authorities have accused G Farms of mistreating migrant workers.

“We would have been looking at a mass fatality,” said Janet Herold, regional solicitor for the Labor Department’s western region. “(G Farms') housing situation wasn’t even close to safe.”

In the G Farms case, the Labor Department used a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court in Phoenix to take immediate action to help workers, and punish their employer, Herold said.

“It’s a lot of work and it requires a lot of resources,” Herold said.

After G Farms, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta ordered the entire agency to work with its Office of Inspector General, or OIG, to seek criminal charges against abusive employers.

Officials have said the G Farms probe is ongoing. But Herold would not say if the G Farms case is now a criminal probe.

“OIG is aware of the case,” she said. “That’s all I can really say.”

A lawyer for G Farms said the Labor Department had no reason to bring the civil case.

“By the time they filed the lawsuit, the things alleged in the lawsuit had been corrected,” said attorney Mike King with the Phoenix firm Gammage & Burnham.

The Industrial Commission of Arizona cited G Farms for seven violations, but only issued fines for three.

Documents show there were overcrowded sleeping areas inside converted school buses, electrical cords near showers, and a water supply that had not been approved by the state.

“(That) doesn’t mean anything was wrong with it,” said King, who added that workers were given the same water used by the owners of G Farms. “It was not inspected first. That's what that means.”

The safety violations at G Farms added up to a $2,250 fine from the state, which King says does not match the accusation of inhumane conditions.

“I would prefer not to say that the government is making an example of my clients,” King said. “But you do see it in any range of regulatory matters. There (are) not enough resources to prosecute everyone.”

The Labor Department has to police a lot more farmers than in the past. In Arizona, the number of H-2A farmworkers jumped 156 percent in five years. But the agency currently has no plan to hire more enforcement agents, which leaves more than 5,000 temporary workers in the state vulnerable to exploitation.

“I think (the Labor Secretary’s order is) really talking about better optimizing and better utilizing the resources we already have to make sure that (information sharing between the Labor Department’s various divisions is) seamless,” said Herold, who’s based in San Francisco.

Arizona’s employee verification rules have led to an increase of demand for H-2A workers. So has a lack of U.S. citizens willing to do manual farm labor.

“Our population of domestic workers that have traditionally worked this crop are aging out,” said Amanda Caldwell, managing attorney for the Farmworker, Employment and Tax Unit at Community Legal Services, which has offices in San Luis and Phoenix.

Farms see temporary foreign labor as the answer to all of their needs, Caldwell said.

“(H-2A workers) don’t have their families here,” she said. “They don't have to call in sick. They don’t have to take the day off to take their kid to school. So they don’t have the needs that other U.S. workers have.”

The unique relationship between H-2A workers and their employers is a key reason why advocates support increased enforcement. With their visa tied to the farm, many migrant workers fear they'll be fired if they speak up about issues like wage theft or poor housing.

“They may even be blacklisted, and find it difficult to return to the United States in the future,” said Adrienne DerVartanian, director of immigration and labor rights at Farmworker Justice in Washington D.C.

Farm workers
(Photo courtesy of Mike King)
Workers load watermelons into shipping containers at G Farms.

Advocates like DerVartanian worry H-2A enforcement will suffer, if agribusiness gets what it wants, and the program gets put under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It would be a step backward for enforcement on these visa programs,” said Herold, regional solicitor with the Labor Department.

“There is a lot of tension here between the business interest and the business in protecting workers,” DerVartanian said.

One of the biggest employers of H-2A workers is Fresh Harvest, a family-run group of companies with operations in California and Arizona.

“We as a company and as a family want to do everything legal and follow the letter of the law and we do whatever it takes to do that,” said Matt Scaroni, director and vice president of production for Fresh Harvest.

Government oversight is important because it keeps the playing field level, he said.

“Sometimes regulation gets so absurd that it raises cost,” Scaroni said. “There’s a balance as a country that we need to find.”

Back at the Rio Valley Market, Medrano looked forward to an evening of television and rest. It's his fourth trip to the U.S., and he hopes there will be more.

“God willing,” he said.

Medrano gave short answers to questions. It might be because he’d never been interviewed, he didn’t want to miss the bus, or because there were bosses within earshot.

Does the farm treat him well?

“Yes,” he said. “It’s good.”

Medrano has two kids in school in Guatemala. His goal is to help them get ahead, and his H-2A visa gives him until November to earn enough money to make it happen.


          Beating Wage Theft         
New Labor continues the fight to create anti-wage theft ordinances that can be used as organizing tools to help beat wage theft. Since we started the ball rolling in New Brunswick, and continued. in Princeton, this year we have moved the anti-wage theft ordinance in Highland Park and Newark, and supported the 5th [...]
          Investigation: Illinois’ Wage Theft Bill Actually Made Things Worse        

This piece first appeared in the Chicago Reporter. 

Most victims of wage theft in Illinois never see a dime because the system meant to help them isn’t working.

That’s not what labor advocates envisioned in 2010, when the state passed a bill meant to give employees a better chance of recouping stolen wages and to toughen penalties against the employers who stiff them.

The situation, however, has gone from bad to worse for the thousands of mostly low-wage workers who have filed roughly $50 million in wage claims with the state since the measure took full effect in 2014.

Workers who report wage theft now face longer wait times, higher dismissal rates and more red tape, according to a Chicago Reporter review of complaint records and enforcement procedures at the Illinois Department of Labor.


          Causes of Income Inequality in the United States        

There are many potential causes of income inequality in the United States.  They include market factors, tax and transfer policies, and other causes.

Market Factors:

  • Globalization - Low skilled American workers have been losing ground in the face of competition from low-wage workers in Asia and other "emerging" economies. While economists who have studied globalization agree imports have had an effect, the timing of import growth does not match the growth of income inequality.
  • Superstar Hypothesis - Modern technologies of communication often turn competition into a tournament in which the winner is richly rewarded, while the runners-up get far less than in the past.
  • Education - Income differences between the varying levels of educational attainment (usually measured by the highest degree of education an individual has completed) have increased. 
  • Skill-Biased Technological Change - The rapid pace of progress in information technology has increased the demand for the highly skilled and educated so that income distribution favored brains rather than brawn.
  • Race and Gender Disparities - Income levels vary by gender and race with median income levels considerably below the national median for females compared to men with certain racial demographics.  Despite considerable progress in pursuing gender and racial equality, some social scientists attribute these discrepancies in income partly to continued discrimination.  In terms of race, Asian Americans are far more likely to be in the highest earning 5 percent than the rest of Americans.  Studies have shown that African Americans are less likely to be hired than White Americans with the same qualifications.
  • Incentives - In the context of concern over income inequality, a number of economists, such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, have talked about the importance of incentives: "... without the possibility of unequal outcomes tied to differences in effort and skill, the economic incentive for productive behavior would be eliminated, and our market-based economy ... would function far less effectively."  Since abundant supply decreases market value, the possession of scarce skills considerably increases income.
  • Stock Buybacks - Writing in the Harvard Business Review in September 2014, William Lazonick blamed record corporate stock buybacks for reduced investment in the economy and a corresponding impact on prosperity and income inequality. Between 2003 and 2012, the 449 companies in the S&P 500 used 54% of their earnings ($2.4 trillion) to buy back their own stock. An additional 37% was paid to stockholders as dividends. Together, these were 91% of profits. This left little for investment in productive capabilities or higher income for employees, shifting more income to capital rather than labor. He blamed executive compensation arrangements, which are heavily based on stock options, stock awards and bonuses for meeting earnings per share (EPS) targets (EPS increases as the number of outstanding shares decreases). Restrictions on buybacks were greatly eased in the early 1980s. He advocates changing these incentives to limit buybacks


Tax and Transfer Policies:
  • Income Taxes - According to journalist Timothy Noah, "you can't really demonstrate that U.S. tax policy had a large impact on the three-decade income inequality trend one way or the other. The inequality trend for pre-tax income during this period was much more dramatic." Noah estimates tax changes account for 5% of the Great Divergence.  But many – such as economist Paul Krugman – emphasize the effect of changes in taxation – such as the 2001 and 2003 Bush administration tax cuts which cut taxes far more for high-income households than those below – on increased income inequality.  Part of the growth of income inequality under Republican administrations (described by Larry Bartels) has been attributed to tax policy. A study by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez found that "large reductions in tax progressivity since the 1960s took place primarily during two periods: the Reagan presidency in the 1980s and the Bush administration in the early 2000s.
  • Taxes on Capital - Taxes on income derived from capital (e.g., financial assets, property and businesses) primarily affect higher income groups, who own the vast majority of capital. For example, in 2010 approximately 81% of stocks were owned by the top 10% income group and 69% by the top 5%. Only about one-third of American households have stock holdings more than $7,000. Therefore, since higher-income taxpayers have a much higher share of their income represented by capital gains, lowering taxes on capital income and gains increases after-tax income inequality.  Capital gains taxes were reduced around the time income inequality began to rise again around 1980 and several times thereafter. During 1978 under President Carter, the top capital gains tax rate was reduced from 49% to 28%. President Ronald Reagan's 1981 cut in the top rate on unearned income reduced the maximum capital gains rate to only 20% – its lowest level since the Hoover administration, as part of an overall economic growth strategy. The capital gains tax rate was also reduced by President Bill Clinton in 1997, from 28% to 20%. President George W. Bush reduced the tax rate on capital gains and qualifying dividends from 20% to 15%, less than half the 35% top rate on ordinary income.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported in August 1990 that: "Of the 8 studies reviewed, five, including the two CBO studies, found that cutting taxes on capital gains is not likely to increase savings, investment, or GNP much if at all." Some of the studies indicated the loss in revenue from lowering the tax rate may be offset by higher economic growth, others did not.  Journalist Timothy Noah wrote in 2012 that: "Every one of these changes elevated the financial interests of business owners and stockholders above the well-being, financial or otherwise, or ordinary citizens."  So overall, while cutting capital gains taxes adversely affects income inequality, its economic benefits are debatable.
  • Transfer Payments - Transfer payments refer to payments to persons such as social security, unemployment compensation, or welfare. CBO reported in November 2014 that: "Government transfers reduce income inequality because the transfers received by lower-income households are larger relative to their market income than are the transfers received by higher-income households. Federal taxes also reduce income inequality, because the taxes paid by higher-income households are larger relative to their before-tax income than are the taxes paid by lower-income households. The equalizing effects of government transfers were significantly larger than the equalizing effects of federal taxes from 1979 to 2011.  CBO also reported that less progressive tax and transfer policies have contributed to greater after-tax income inequality:  "As a result of the diminishing effect of transfers and federal taxes, the Gini index for income after transfers and federal taxes grew by more than the index for market income. Between 1979 and 2007, the Gini index for market income increased by 23 percent, the index for market income after transfers increased by 29 percent, and the index for income measured after transfers and federal taxes increased by 33 percent."

Other Causes:

  • Decline of Unions - The era of inequality growth has coincided with a dramatic decline in labor union membership from 20% of the labor force in 1983 to about 12% in 2007.
  • Political Parties and Presidents - Liberal political scientist Larry Bartels has found a strong correlation between the party of the president and income inequality in America since 1948.  Examining average annual pre-tax income growth from 1948 to 2005 (which encompassed most of the egalitarian Great Compression and the entire inegalitarian Great Divergence) Bartels shows that under Democratic presidents (from Harry Truman forward), the greatest income gains have been at the bottom of the income scale and tapered off as income rose. Under Republican presidents, in contrast, gains were much less but what growth there was concentrated towards the top, tapering off as you went down the income scale.
  • Non-Party Political Action - According to political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson writing in the book Winner-Take-All Politics, the important policy shifts were brought on not by the Republican Party but by the development of a modern, efficient political system, especially lobbying, by top earners – and particularly corporate executives and the financial services industry.  Change in the norms of corporate culture also may have played a factor.
  • Immigration - The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 increased immigration to America, especially of non-Europeans.  From 1970 to 2007, the foreign-born proportion of America's population grew from 5% to 11%, most of whom had lower education levels and incomes than native-born Americans. But the contribution of this increase in supply of low-skill labor seem to have been relatively modest. One estimate stated that immigration reduced the average annual income of native-born "high-school dropouts" ("who roughly correspond to the poorest tenth of the workforce") by 7.4% from 1980 to 2000. The decline in income of better educated workers was much less. Author Timothy Noah estimates that "immigration" is responsible for just 5% of the "Great Divergence" in income distribution, as does economist David Card.  While immigration was found to have slightly depressed the wages of the least skilled and least educated American workers, it doesn't explain rising inequality among high school and college graduates.
  • Wage Theft - Wage theft in the United States, is the illegal withholding of wages or the denial of benefits that are rightfully owed to an employee. Wage theft can be conducted through various means such as: failure to pay overtime, minimum wage violations, employee misclassification, illegal deductions in pay, working off the clock, or not being paid at all.  Wage theft, particularly from low wage legal or illegal immigrant workers, is common in the United States, according to some studies. A September 2014 report by the Economic Policy Institute suggests wage theft costs US workers billions of dollars a year and claims wage theft is also responsible for exacerbating income inequality.
  • Corporatism - Edmund Phelps, published an analysis in 2010 theorizing that the cause of income inequality is not free market capitalism, but instead is the result of the rise of corporatism.  Corporatism, in his view, is the antithesis of free market capitalism. It is characterized by semi-monopolistic organizations and banks, big employer confederations, often acting with complicit state institutions in ways that discourage (or block) the natural workings of a free economy. The primary effects of corporatism are the consolidation of economic power and wealth with end results being the attrition of entrepreneurial and free market dynamism
  • Neoliberalism - Some economists, sociologists and anthropologists argue that neoliberalism, or the resurgence of 19th century theories relating to laissez-faire economic liberalism in the late 1970s, has been the significant driver of inequality. Vicenç Navarro points to policies pertaining to the deregulation of labor markets, privatization of public institutions, union busting and reduction of public social expenditures as contributors to this widening disparity.  The privatization of public functions, for example, grows income inequality by depressing wages and eliminating benefits for middle class workers while increasing income for those at the top. The deregulation of the labor market undermined unions by allowing the real value of the minimum wage to plummet, resulting in employment insecurity and widening wage and income inequality. David M. Kotz, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, contends that neoliberalism "is based on the thorough domination of labor by capital." As such, the advent of the neoliberal era has seen a sharp increase in income inequality through the decline of unionization, stagnant wages for workers and the rise of CEO super salaries.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_income_inequality_in_the_United_States


          Cuomo Orders Emergency Measures to Protect Workers at Nail Salons        
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered emergency measures on Sunday to combat the wage theft and health hazards faced by the thousands of people who work in New York State’s nail salon industry. Effective immediately, he said in a statement, a new, multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights. Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down. The...
          Associated Supermarket, Bushwick        
Associated Supermarket. Elizabeth Baik and Zoe Ginsburg, 2009.

229 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn NY.


Take the L train to Morgan Ave, walk South on Morgan Ave. Make a left on Flushing. Make a right onto Knickerbocker Ave, and walk 4 short blocks to the corner of Starr Street.


This local supermarket was forced to pay workers back wages in August for widespread wage violations. The owners, along with the owners of Pioneer Supermarket at 1115 Pennsylvania Avenue, paid “restitution totaling $1,125,000”1. The owners “were also arrested and pleaded guilty to criminal wage theft and falsification of records”2. Violations included lack of overtime pay, paying below minimum wage, and, most egregiously, complete lack of pay for baggers who relied solely on tips.


Bushwick’s racialized spaces, immigrant disenfranchisement, connection to transnational economies and labor flows, and local activism collide in the Associated Supermarket incident. The victory resulted from years of grassroots planning and activism, led by the supermarket workers themselves with support from an extraordinary organization, Make the Road New York. They instituted a long-term boycott of the supermarket, and raised community awareness of the exploitation through Make the Road New York’s weekly meetings, bilingual flyering of the neighborhood and long-term protesting at the site. This community led pressure influenced the New York State’s Attorney General’s Office, who instituted, and ultimately won or settled criminal and civil charges against the owners3.


Make the Road New York is a merger non-profit of Make the Road By Walking, a grassroots Bushwick-based organization that focused solely on immigrant welfare recipients, and the Latin-American Immigration Center, whose mission was to “promote and protect human and civil rights of Latino immigrants and encourage their civic participation in New York City”4. Make the Road New York empowers local residents through leadership roles in the organization. Their advocacy includes expanding civil rights, improving health care, youth development, education, as well as workplace justice. It gives local residents, many of whom are either documented or undocumented immigrants, a voice in the larger policy debate and a say in the direction of their own lives.


In fighting against labor violations, local residents reworked hegemonic discourses around citizenship status and racialized labor. Workers stood up for their rights, refusing to remain silent because of their race or legal status. In demanding rights, residents inserted themselves into cultural membership, or citizenship, in the United States. Formal citizenship is not always “a necessary or a sufficient condition for substantive citizenship” in a globalizing world where formal participation in a nation-state is divorced from “civic, political, socioeconomic and cultural rights”5. In claiming rights and inserting themselves as political actors, residents became citizens “in the broadest sense”6. They became Americans, culturally if not formally, through the very act of advocating for their rights.


While the workers were able to transcend some “identities” such as citizenship status and language, their victory was simultaneously aided by racism imbedded in the place of the victory and inscribed on the bodies of the victors. Almost 40% of Bushwick residents are foreign born, nearly 80% of residents are Latino and almost 35% live below the poverty line7. The workers were able to draw commonalities because of historical ghettoization and racialization of the area. Bushwick has a long history of blockbusting, followed by cycles of disinvestment and perceived blight, which contributed to the area’s racial and socio-economic homogeneity8. A relatively homogenous socio-economic base may have mitigated potential fractures in advocacy goals.


- Elizabeth Baik and Zoe Ginsburg


Notes

1 Chan, Sewell. “2 Bushwick Supermarkets Settle Labor Charges.” New York Times. 1

July 2009. Available from [http://www.maketheroad.org/article.php?ID=980].

2 “Winning the Fight Against Wage Theft.” Available from [ http://www.maketheroad.org/article.php?ID=985]

3 Make the Road New York. “What We Do. ” Available from [http://maketheroad.org/whatwedo_workplace.php]

4 Make the Road New York. “Who We Are—Our History. Available from [http://www.maketheroad.org/whoweare_ourhistory.php].

5 Holston, James and Arjun Appadurai. James Holston ed. Cities and Citizenship. “Introduction: Cities and Citizenship.” (pp 4). Durham and London:Duke University Press, 1999.

6 Flores, William V. (2003). “New Citizens, New Rights: Undocumented Immigrants and Latino Cultural Citizenship.” Latin American Perspectives, 30 (2), 87-100.

7 Wikipedia. “Bushwick, Brooklyn.” Dec. 8 2009. Available from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushwick,_Brooklyn]; Furman Center. “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods 2008.” Available from [http://furmancenter.org/research/sonychan].

8 Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.; Malanga, Steven. “The Death and Life of Bushwick: A Brooklyn Neighborhood finally recovers from decades of Misguided Urban Policies. City Journal Spring 2008 Vol. 18.2. Available from [http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_bushwick.html].

          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Evil Employers Please Create More Jobs        
The dictionary defines "conundrum" as "A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma." And that is what we have in this country at the moment. We have a significant need for job creation. Yet we have governments, both federal and state, that vilify businesses. They create an adversarial situation and seek to punish businesses. I have written several times about this, see US Department of Labor: It's War! And Employers Are The Enemy , but it continues. And more people are jumping on the bandwagon. (Click the link for a definition of the term).

Fellow blogger/Twitterer, Stephanie R. Thomas @ProactiveStats posted a tweet about a new piece of legislation passed in the State of New York. The unbelievable title of the legislation is the Wage Theft Prevention Act! It is bad enough that the USDOL Sectretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, calls all employers thieves in a speech, but then to have a state pass legislation that essentially labels all employers as thieves. Here is a list of the kinds of activities I am talking about:
  • Secretary of Labor claims to be "the new sheriff in town" and will stop employer thievery
  • USDOL hires over 250 new wage & hour investigators and 200+ OSHA investigators and announces they will be pursuing criminal penalities rather than civil solutions
  • The USDOL partners with the American Bar Association to team complaining workers with attorneys willing to sue employers and supplying them with all the paperwork and data needed.
  • The DOL announces they will enforce regulation through embarrassment and intimidation.
  • The White House announcing a coordinated effort between the DOL, OFCCP, EEOC and the IRS to punish "wrong doing" by an employer by having them investigated by all the agencies, regardless of what they may have been accused of .
  • Increasingly onerous legislation being passed that make day to day life in a business difficult.
  • The NLRB overturning 100s of previously decided cases in order to make the environment friendlier for union activity.
  • Executive Orders are issued requiring ALL work places doing business with the Federal government to allow union organization or have their contracts with the government pulled.
  • And of course taxes and healthcare requirements almost don't need to be mentioned. The United States now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Talk about driving business away!
  • And now states are passing anti-employer legislation.
Now I don't know about you but I find this discouraging. I have had several clients in the past of days ask why things have turned this way. I tell them that I feel it is driven by two things. First, it drives revenue. And governments are broke and need tax dollars. We hear all the time about the favorite whipping boy of government, the "rich." Well businesses are as equally reviled and seen as the best source of revenue. The second reason, as I see it, is philosophy. The current administration, heavily  steeped in union connections, exhibits many of the same socialistic (even communistic) tendencies that labor leaders have. In these philosophies employers are evil and do nothing but exploit workers and thus must be controlled, even punished. Hence we have the current situation. (Even though many labor leaders and legislators are themselves rich by most peoples standards, and unions would not even exist if businesses did not. After all they are a business that is in the business of making money off of organized workers. If no dues were paid unions would not exist just for the "good" of workers.

Given the current situation it is more difficult to run a business. If I were considering starting a business I might be hesitant to do so. If I had a business I might be hesitant to do any expansion. However, business creation and job growth is what drives the economy, so business men and women step up and work against the odds and they make things happen. And it is that spirit of entrepreneurship that then picks my spirit up. But it certainly would be a lot nicer and easier if the government didn't fight us every step of the way.


For further information on the Wage Theft Prevention Act see Governor Patterson Signs Wage Theft Prevention Act by Nicholas Fusco.
          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          White Collar Wage Theft Is Trending: Companies Using Jail And Illegal Arrangements To Prevent Employees From Leaving        
Employees are facing an uphill battle against employers for their fair shake in the social contract. Google, Apple, Intel, Intuit and Adobe are settling a $3 billion lawsuit for creating an illegal backroom “anti-poaching” deal. Billion-dollar hedgefunds are prosecuting their former-employees on the taxpayer’s dime for trying to take a [...]
          General Convention, 2012 - The Last Day        

Thursday, July 12, the Last Day
General Convention notes

8:00 a.m. -- Legislative Session
We started with a fine prayer written by Steven Charleston:
Do not doubt the faith that brought you this far, do not doubt the hope that you still carry. I know that your journey has been a long one, with enough disappointments along the way to discourage a saint, but you trusted yourself to make this climb, you believed in who God made you, and you took the chance. Don't quit now. Don't turn away. The outcome may not go according to plan, but it will be a blessing. You did not come this long distance to miss the moment when you know the destination was worth the trip. Sometimes to have faith, you just keep moving.

We made several procedural changes to speed legislation.  We'll try to pass all of the "discharge" motions as a group.  We'll try to let non-controversial resolutions go through without speeches of advocacy.

On the fun side:  I started the day in third place in Bonnie Ball - bonnie-ball.org - but I imagine competition will be fast and furious today.

Some notes about things going on outside the hall.  A waiter at a restaurant near the Convention Center asked who we are?  The Episcopal Church General Convention, was the answer.  Well, the waiter said, I wish you could stay forever.  You are the nicest bunch of Christians we've had here.  Usually these church groups just make me mad when they are here.

Yesterday was "dress like Secretary Gregory Straub Day."  Gregory is known for his bow ties and his colorful sports coats.  Ted Holder lent one of his to me (and tied it for me).  There were macrame bow ties, balloon bow ties, and one youth representative just wrote "Bowtie" on a piece of paper that he pinned to his collar.

Our first order of work will be to deal with resolutions that originate in the House of Deputies.  If passed, they will go to the House of Bishops for their consideration.

 We passed several resolutions dealing with internal things --  the discipline and structure of the church.  Then we passed things having to do with external things.  We passed a resolution encouraging refugee resettlement.  We passed a resolution opposing the Immigration Enforcement's Secure Communities Program and racial profiling.  A deputy asked what is racial profiling, calling it a fiction.  A dark-haired Anglo deputy from Arizona offered a litany of experiences she has had -- being pulled over four times for equipment malfunctions her auto mechanic cannot find, having to show her passport to prove her citizenship or risk jailing until she could.  We passed a resolution calling for a shift of rhetoric from war language to criminal language as we oppose terrorism worldwide.  We passed a resolution of solidarity with communities who bear the greatest burdens of global climate change: indigenous peoples, subsistence communities, and the poor; asking for movement away from fossil fuels toward more sustainable alternatives.  We passed job creation legislation.  We made a moral commitment to health care for all.  

11:00 a.m. We had our closing Eucharist.  Presiding Bishop Jefforts Schori preached.  The lection included a passage about refraining from arguing and urging agreement within the church.  Nice quote from the P.B. - "We won't all agree before the second coming.  But there is but one and only rule:  Love one another."  She cited St. Augustine's famous dictum, "Love God, and do what you please."  Deep down, the Body of Christ has memory of trustworthiness.  Maybe we can really learn how to love everybody in the church.  "Take a flying leap into the future and toward the other," she said.

After Lunch, a deputy from Dallas read a statement from a group of bishops and deputies who object strongly to the Conventions actions to create blessings for same-sex relationships.  After the statement he invited deputies who agree with the statement to stand.  A number of deputies did so.  Most of the South Carolina deputation has left.

We passed a number of things in a block of work, especially things to be discharged or referred to an interim body.  We passed resolutions for small congregations, for older persons, an anti-bullying resolution, a measure commending labor organizing and resources such as those provided by the Interfaith Worker Justice, a resolution requesting bishops to distribute "A Prophetic Clergy Call to Action", a measure requesting every church to declare themselves as "Gun Free Zones", an endorsement of anti-racism training, a condemnation of threats against sexual minorities, a resolution opposing dangerous fracking. 

A resolution recommending we return to a 10-day convention passed.  I'm very glad.  The current 8-day convention is way too rushed and pressured, and it leaves little time for things like small-group Bible study, presentations, meditations, and things that help inspire energize and educate the church.

All of the measures I've mentioned above must go to the House of Bishops for their action.  We now take up items that we can act upon with finality because they come to us from the House of Bishops.

We agreed with the Bishops to move the Church Center away from its current (expensive) headquarters in New York City.  The Social and Urban Affairs committee passed resolutions to deter backlisting of workers, condemn the practice of wage theft, move toward full inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities, and create an alternative to the prison pipeline.

It seems that the House of Bishops have finished with everything.  We don't have anything else to send to them. 

I was able to get all of our committee's legislation through in my last presentation.  I think the Daily Prayer resource will be something the church will treasure for generations to come.  And while introducing our new set of prayers for animals, I got a lot of Bonnie-Ball points.  I think I've got a great chance for a solid second place finish.

Wait!!  I've just gotten word that my last at-bat was a grand slam -- I've passed Secretary Straub for first place in Bonnie-Ball.  He still gets last chance as we wind down.  I'm betting his final announcements will give him the victory.  But I'm proud of a solid second.  

I think we are very close to having all of the resolutions handled.  Amazing.  

The "open communion" resolution came back to us.  The bishops struck the sentence "We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized."  That's disappointing.  We voted to concur nonetheless.   

We've made it to the courtesy motions.  I'm going to try to send this out anticipating near adjournment.

It's been a privilege to serve as a deputy to this convention.  It is an historic one in several ways.  It also re-confirms my affection and respect for this institution -- the General Convention -- and renews my love for this Episcopal Church.  I LOVE this Church. 
  
Lowell

          Comment on Bristol IWW Wins Again – AGAIN! by The centre cannot hold: 2016 in review | Cautiously pessimistic        
[…] delivery couriers, and small-scale campaigns against wage theft fought by syndicalist unions like Bristol IWW and Brighton […]
          Comment on Bristol IWW just Keeps on Winning! by Workplace struggle: Deliveroo, 100 Wood Street and more… | Cautiously pessimistic        
[…] IWW, who recently won victories over wage theft at dodgy social care company Your Lifestyle and at Beefeater Restaurant. Meanwhile, Manchester SolFed have taken up a similar campaign against the wage-stealing bosses at […]
          New York Times Article: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice -- Is Mainstream Media Finally Recognizing Class Action Waivers as a Political Issue?        

As every lawyer practicing in the field has known since at least 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court's approval of mandatory class action waivers in AT&T v. Concepcion has reshaped the entire field of consumer and employment law.  

The odd thing is that this momentous legal development has flown entirely under the radar of the media.  I am sure it's hard for journalist to make the technicalities of Federal Arbitration Act preemption seem "sexy."  But that's still a pretty lame excuse for totally ignoring one of the most important legal story of the decade.  

It was therefore surprising and interesting to see that the nation's "paper of record" is finally on the class-waiver beat.  In an October 31, 2015 New York Times feature article:  Beware the Fine Print: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice, the authors correctly identify the importance of the issue:

By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.

“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”
 

However, the authors also go a little overboard in blaming the Supreme Court's rulings on a shady cabal of corporate conspirators. 

More than a decade in the making, the move to block class actions was engineered by a Wall Street-led coalition of credit card companies and retailers, according to interviews with coalition members and court records. Strategizing from law offices on Park Avenue and in Washington, members of the group came up with a plan to insulate themselves from the costly lawsuits.

(But like I said, it must be hard to make arbitration "sexy" without a secret conspiracy of evil-doers).

To the extent the class action ban is bad law or bad policy the only people really responsible are the five Supreme Court Justices who created the rule.  Indeed, one interesting revelation is that when Chief Justice Roberts was a private attorney working for Discover Bank, he argued for overturning the California Supreme Court decision that held such class action bans to be unenforceable.  As Chief Justice he was able to implement his own arguments by providing the fifth vote in AT&T v. Conception, which struck down the same California "Discover Bank" rule that he had advocated against as a lawyer.  

When the court ruled 5-4 in favor of AT&T, it largely skipped over Mr. Pincus’s central argument [of states' rights].

“Requiring the availability of classwide arbitration,” Justice Scalia wrote for the majority, “interferes with fundamental attributes of arbitration.” The main purpose of the Federal Arbitration Act, he wrote, “is to ensure the enforcement of arbitration agreements according to their terms.”

It was essentially the same argument Mr. Roberts had made as a lawyer in the Discover case.

 Perhaps the Times' article will start a long-overdue trend of more media attention and political discourse on the subject of class action waivers.  Or, more likely, the issue will hing on the next appointment to the Court which may result in a new 5-vote coalition to re-examine the rule.   

Side Note:  I couldn't help looking up the NYT subscriber agreement to see if it has a class action waiver clause. It doesn't.   But the WSJ has one.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


          SeaTac Workers File Class Action Lawsuit Over Wages        
Airport workers filed 14 class action lawsuits Wednesday, claiming wage theft against their employers. They say they aren't being paid the $15 dollar minimum wage in SeaTac, which went into effect in 2014. Their lawyers estimate the workers are owed, on average, $20,000 in back-pay and penalties. Duncan Turner is the lead counsel on the lawsuits, filed in King County Superior Court. He says that many of the plaintiffs are immigrants, and they work as baggage handlers, rental car staff, janitors, and plane refuelers at Sea-Tac Aiport. "They are, generally speaking, a vulnerable class, vulnerable to being exploited," Turner says. “If somebody's supposed to be paid $15 an hour, and you pay them $10, you're holding back one-third of their wages, and that means all these workers have to work two and three jobs." Turner estimates there are 1,500 potential class members across the 14 companies they are suing. He said some workers have been offered settlements that represent a fraction of the
          The View from Moscow, Puzder's Done, Fake Voting Fraud         

Coming up on today's show:

  • Americans wake up every day to a new crop of political developments that range from odd to alarming. Many are about Russia being involved in some part of American life where it hadn't been recently. But how does this all look in Russia? Charles Maynes, an independent journalist in Moscow, answers
  • Fast food magnate Andrew Puzder officially withdrew from his nomination to be labor secretary under President Donald Trump, amid concerns that he wouldn't make it through confirmation because he had hired a nanny who lacked permission to work in the U.S. He also had been accused of domestic abuse by his ex wife, and wage theft and mistreatment by workers at his Carl's Jr. restaurants. Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich has the latest. 
  • The immigration ban has raised broader questions about how far officials at the border can go while searching private property, including phones and social media. Rights are not always completely clear at the border and agents often have a good amount of leeway in denying or permitting entry. Rey Koslowski of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs explains.
  • President Trump and his policy director Stephen Miller have both claimed that voters were bused into New Hampshire from Massachusetts, swinging the election there to Hillary Clinton. Former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath, a longtime Republican political consultant, is one of many in the Granite State saying that just simply isn't true.
  • The rapidly changing U.S.-Russia relationship is having effects in many former Soviet-bloc countries, often because they see the U.S. as an influence to help protect basic human rights. Two former Uzbek political prisoners, Umida Niyazova and Sanjar Umarov, are hoping the U.S. can keep pressure on one of the most repressive regimes in the world. 
  • Seventy years after they were recorded, two songs sung by Holocaust survivors have been unearthed at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron. David Baker, the center's executive director, has been on a mission to unlock the recordings done on wire spools shortly after the end of the war.

 


          Papa John’s Franchisee Gets Jail for Dodging Overtime        

There’s a reason why states like New York and California have the ‘Wage Theft Prevention Act’ as part of the employee onboarding process. At the end of the day you can’t prevent an owner from doing something illegal, but you can put steps in place to make sure that the New Hire and Employer are... Read more »

The post Papa John’s Franchisee Gets Jail for Dodging Overtime appeared first on EOS.


          Report: Wage Theft Penalties Weak Compared to Shoplifting Laws        
Report: Wage Theft Penalties Weak Compared to Shoplifting Laws LANSING, Mich. – Retail employers in Michigan and other states steal as much from their workers as shoplifters steal from stores, according to a new report. The progressive policy group Demos compared minimum wage theft data from the Economic Policy Institute with shoplifting data from the Global Retail Theft Barometer. ...(Read More)
          Report: MI Minimum-Wage Workers Cheated Out of Full Paychecks         
Report: MI Minimum-Wage Workers Cheated Out of Full Paychecks LANSING, Mich. – Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan live in poverty, and new research suggests that number would be lower if some workers weren't being cheated out of pay they have earned. The Economic Policy Institute examined reports of minimum-wage theft in the 10 most populous states, including Michigan. ...(Read More)
          The Mark Larson Show - Hr 3 - 09/08/15        
Stephen Colbert prepares for the premiere of his new spot on The Late Show. Mark discusses "wage theft" and labor rallies.
          The Mark Larson Show - HR 1 - 09/08/15        
The Left holds rallies about wage theft. Biden talks about the wage issues. President Barack Obama pushes for union movement.
          LEGISLATIVE AGENDA 2015: Smart Choices for North Carolina        

North Carolina’s economy is out of balance. Far too many striving families cannot make ends meet and too many communities lack the tools and opportunities they need to succeed and thrive. Enacting policies that put these families and communities first should be the top priority of state leaders.

Click below for the full agenda, which puts forth practical and proven solutions that will reduce obstacles to economic stability for families and communities and put North Carolina’s economy back on track.

  • Adopt revenue systems that are equitable, adequate, support economic opportunity, grow the economy and weather economic downturns
  • Invest adequately in effective programs and services that support low- and moderate-income North Carolinians
  • Put people back to work
  • Support and protect workers
  • Improve North Carolina's health care system
  • Protect tenants
  • Increase access to safe, decent and affordable housing
  • Protect consumers from abusive and predatory lending and debt-collection practices
  • Ensure that low-income people have access to affordable and environmentally sustainable energy
  • Ensure a sound basic education for all children
  • Protect and improve civil rights and access to the courts
  • Address the barriers to re-entry for individuals with criminal convictions
  • Ensure good government and the right to vote
AttachmentSize
PDF icon Legislative Agenda Final.pdf953.89 KB

          STATEMENT: Whoever wins tomorrow must take poverty seriously        

 

Whoever wins tomorrow must take poverty seriously
Regardless of Tuesday’s election results, North Carolina and America must build an economy that works for everyone, including the less fortunate
 
A STATEMENT FROM THE NC JUSTICE CENTER
 
RALEIGH (Nov. 5, 2012) -- No matter what candidates win in tomorrow’s election, our elected officials must take poverty seriously. Throughout North Carolina, people and communities continue to struggle with low wealth and lack of opportunity.
 
What does it mean to take poverty seriously?
 
To take poverty seriously means making economic policy decisions that create opportunity for people. Instead of concentrating wealth in the hands of the few, our economy and communities perform better when all people have the chance to build prosperity. Preserving and creating high-quality jobs must be a top priority.
 
To take poverty seriously means recognizing that public education is one of the state’s best assets.  The only way to show commitment to public education is to properly fund our schools without privatizing them and providing taxpayer dollars to for-profit corporations.  Education is a path out of poverty, and we must move to enrich the minds of students, not enrich the vaults of for-profit corporations.
 
To take poverty seriously means understanding that health care is an outstanding investment in North Carolina’s people, one that pays off in the present and the future. It means understanding that working families need their leaders to stand up for public health.
 
To take poverty seriously means acknowledging the contributions immigrants make in communities across our state and nation, contributions that build opportunity for all. To take poverty seriously means cracking down on employers who don’t pay their workers the wages they are legally entitled to, and making sure those who are unemployed can sustain themselves while looking for work.
 
To take poverty seriously means all of these things and more. Though the election will be over in just a few hours, our shared values dictate that our struggle against poverty – and for shared prosperity – must be ongoing, regardless of who holds elected office.
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, director of communications, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615.

          NC JUSTICE NEWS: Poverty in North Carolina + Wage Theft + Defenders of Justice Awards        

March 6, 2012

TRUTH & HOPE TOUR: Shedding light on poverty in southeast NC

The day after Rep. George Cleveland claimed that extreme poverty doesn’t exist in North Carolina, a tour of communities in the southeast region heard and saw evidence that proved otherwise. The second leg of the Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty in North Carolina, a state-wide tour of rural counties and inner city neighborhoods where North Carolinians have struggled to find work, decent housing, transportation, and sufficient food for their families, made stops in Fayetteville, Wilmington, Navassa, Supply, Red Spring, Greenville, Goldsboro, Dudley, and Faison on March 2 and 3.

Residents in Greenville and Red Springs described struggling to provide for their families and also pay their utility bills, which often exceed $1,000 each month. Others are living in the woods, while veterans in Fayetteville have had to resort to sleeping under bridges throughout the city. In Wilmington, a woman facing health issues and lives in a temporary recovery house told the crowd that she had applied for supported housing but had been told she shouldn’t even bother filling out an application as there are no openings. “That’s all I’ve ever known – being poor,” Murray said. “We’re hardworking people but some can’t even get change together for the bus to go to minimum wage jobs.”

The tour also heard stories of environmental poverty in impoverished, predominantly minority communities that have been neglected or targeted for harmful construction. In Navassa, Mayor Eulis Willis led the bus to closed fertilizer factory sites that left behind 624 acres of contaminated land full of toxic soil that has been harmful to the community. A Supply community is battling the establishment of a 259-acre landfill directly across the road from residential houses that have been denied water and sewage services from Brunswick County.

The third and final left of the Truth and Hope Tour of Poverty will visit Western North Carolina in late April. Follow @truthandhopenc on Twitter for updates, and “Like” the tour’s Facebook page for access to photos, video, and articles.

NC PRE-K: Fight must continue to protect early childhood education

Last week, the NC House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement considered a proposal that would have lowered the "at-risk" income eligibility for children and their families seeking enrollment in NC Pre-K, cutting off nearly 10,000 children from crucial early childhood education programs. Fortunately, legislators paid heed to public comments, and scaled back their recommendations for changing Pre-K eligibility, in addition to backing off proposals that allowed only private providers to offer NC Pre-K.

The NC Justice Center commends legislators for listening to the public and changing course on this important issue, but it’s important that we remain vocal about this issue and vigilant in the fight to protect early childhood education. It’s clear that last week’s efforts may have only slowed down the process of restructuring NC Pre-K, in addition to opening up the entire discussion of what poverty means in North Carolina. Deep poverty is all too real in our state, despite what lawmakers may have implied at last week’s meeting, and fighting such poverty begins with ensuring that all children have the opportunity to receive high-quality early learning.

Investing in early education is one of the best ways to move the state forward. As more North Carolinians fall into poverty and poverty deepens for too many, North Carolina’s policymakers should discuss these issues with the facts in hand and an understanding of the solutions that are proven to make a difference.

WAGE THEFT STUDY: Looking for workers to share their stories

Everyone should be paid for their work. Have you ever not been paid what you were owed?

Wage theft – the illegal underpayment or nonpayment of work – is a growing problem in North Carolina. Last year, documented wage theft cost North Carolina workers and their communities an estimated $4.7 million. Wage theft includes overtime/ minimum wage violations, “off the clock” violations, tipped job violations, non-payment of wages, and misclassification as an independent contractor.

The North Carolina Justice Center together with the Human Rights Policy Clinic at the UNC School of Law is conducting an in-depth qualitative study on wage theft in the Triangle this spring. As part of a larger effort to combat the growing problem of wage theft, this small-scale research study will focus on the impact of wage theft on workers and communities.

We are currently scheduling interviews to talk about working conditions and the impacts of wage theft. All interviews are in-person and last about an hour. All questions are voluntary and information is strictly confidential. We are able to offer a $20 incentive for each interview (plus the cost of childcare for one hour).

For diversity in the study, we are looking for the following:

  • Workers who have experience a recent wage theft issue in one of the following industries: Caregiving (either formal or informal, such as child care); Restaurant; or Retail
  • And are 18 or older and a U.S. citizen

For more information, please contact Sabine Schoenbach at the North Carolina Justice Center at 919.856.2234 or sabine@ncjustice.org. Spanish speakers, please contact Ron Garcia-Fogarty at 866.415.1389 or 919.861.2064 or ron@ncjustice.org.

"OUT OF CONTROL" TOUR: Greenville, Charlotte, Wilmington

The General Assembly’s “midnight attack” on North Carolina’s teachers in January revealed a remarkable willingness to ram through an extreme agenda, no matter what it takes.

Please join N.C. Policy Watch and some key progressive allies at a series of public forums that will explore: how North Carolina's extreme right-wing General Assembly is turning back the clock, who's bankrolling its agenda, and what it means for our lives. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and share your perspective, too.

  • Greenville: Thursday, March 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greenville NC, 131 Oakmont Drive. Featured speakers: Chris Fitzsimon, Chris Kromm, MaryBe McMillan, Jake Gellar-Goad. Register for the event.
  • Charlotte : Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m., Teamsters Local Union 71, 2529 Beltway Blvd. Featured speakers: Chris Fitzsimon, Chris Kromm, MaryBe McMillan, Robert Dawkins. Register here.
  • Wilmington : Wed., March 28. Time and location TBA. Featured speakers: Rob Schofield, Chris Kromm, MaryBe McMillan, Nancy Shakir. Register here.

DEFENDERS OF JUSTICE AWARDS: May 10, 2012

The Justice Center presents its Defender of Justice Awards to honor individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions in the fight against poverty in four areas that reflect the scope of the Justice Center’s work.

The event will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2012 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Bay 7 in the American Tobacco Campus, Durham. Recipients will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Purchase your ticket today.

Authors: 
Research & Publications: 

          Puneet V. Kakkar        
Untitled Document
Puneet V. Kakkar, Caldwell Leslie Proctor, PC.
by Won Hur, Lee, Hong, Degerman, Kang & Waimey's LA Office


Growing up in an immigrant family, Puneet Kakkar witnessed firsthand the injustices and burdens faced by his parents and other immigrants, in part because they lacked command of the English language. He saw that the law was often used unfairly to take advantage of others, particularly the most vulnerable. These experiences shaped Puneet’s desire at an early age to go to law school, with a goal of doing his part to level the playing field. Born in the U.S. to parents that were forced from their homeland due to the partition of the Punjab region in 1947, Puneet also developed an early appreciation for the impact of international events on people’s lives and a strong interest in international law and policy.

Read More^^

Puneet’s interests led him to an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Paris as part of his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. At the embassy, Puneet received an invaluable education, sitting in on diplomatic meetings, preparing briefings and press reviews, and attending various state and embassy receptions. He followed that with an internship at the U.S. Supreme Court, where part of his duties was to coordinate the hosting of judges and academics visiting from foreign countries to learn about the U.S. judicial system. During college and law school at Boalt Hall, Puneet continued to feed his passions by interning at the Department of State, Afghanistan Office and the U.S. Department of Justice. After Boalt, Puneet clerked for U.S. District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank following a stint at a top law firm. He later worked as a volunteer attorney on criminal justice reform at International Bridges to Justice in New Delhi, India.

Today, it’s hardly surprising that Puneet is a rising star at Caldwell Leslie & Proctor (recipient of the CMCP Majority Owned Law Firm Award in 2013), where he handles both civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense matters. Puneet also spends considerable time advising and counseling entertainment clients on intellectual property issues.

Despite a very full plate, Puneet continues to make time to support organizations providing services that align with his passions and interests. For example, Puneet serves on the Board of Governors of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, previously served as the President of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA), and led SABA’s Public Interest Foundation for 3 years. Puneet was recently named to the Editorial Advisory Board of the California Lawyer magazine, a board that includes the likes of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, and Southern California Edison General Counsel Russell C. Swartz. He is also a founding member of the Council of Advisors for the South Asian Network, a nonprofit advocacy group.

A strong sense of justice drives Puneet’s community efforts and he regularly serves the Asian Pacific American community pro bono, including participating in "know your rights” seminars and legal clinics, and prosecuting wage theft. Working in conjunction with Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, Puneet represented a Bangladeshi cook who had suffered from sexual harassment and who spoke little English.

When she reported the abuse, the restaurant owners fired her and even sued her for defamation. Puneet provided pro bono counsel on the matter, and along with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, obtained a very favorable $45,000 settlement for his client. More importantly to Puneet, the settlement was reported in the local ethnic papers and sent a strong message within the "Little India” community that such abuses would not be tolerated.

Puneet considers such pro bono work a part of his practice, and points out that the work allows him to expand his skill set and obtain invaluable litigation experience that would ordinarily take longer within the firm context. He also credits his firm’s unwavering support of his pro bono work and his community activities, recalling events where more than two-thirds of the entire firm’s attorneys came to show support, including all of the senior leadership. In fact when asked if he wanted to highlight some people that have played key roles in his career, Puneet states without hesitation "everyone at my firm” (which is not an answer you hear often). Puneet also counts U.S. District Judge Fairbank as a key mentor who has helped him immeasurably.

Recently, Puneet has turned his considerable talent to working against an election strategy that targets incumbent California Superior Court Judges with ethnic names. These challengers appear to rely solely on name distinction, as they do not campaign, have no judicial experience, and are rated to be significantly less qualified than the incumbent judges. These judges, unlike many of their colleagues on the bench, must expend significant efforts and expenses to campaign, and Puneet saw this as a call to action. He has worked with the community to inform the electorate of the issue and helped produce videos of interviews with the judges. Puneet hopes this kind of strong community mobilization will dissuade further attempts at what the legal community views as racially motivated challenges, and more importantly, preserve minority and quality representation on the bench. "We should be proud of our last names, and we want to support our excellent judges of minority descent on the bench and encourage more to join them,” he states.

When asked for advice for those starting out their legal profession, Puneet states that finding mentors is important, but stresses that it’s key to find a mentor who you want to emulate beyond just his or her job title and professional achievements.

Puneet’s final words of wisdom to newer attorneys: "Take a stand on what you believe in, and do things to support that cause.” By doing so, newer attorneys not only provide much needed service and support to worthy causes, they also realize a tremendous sense of personal fulfillment, gain valuable work experience, and begin to build their professional networks.


          Mitch discusses wage theft protests targeting McDonald's, fast food industry        

          Usa – Scioperi nei porti di Los Angeles e Long Beach        
Decine e decine di lavoratori del trasporto merce operanti nei porti di Los Angeles e Long Beach hanno incrociato le braccia per cinque giorni per protestare contro le condizioni di lavoro. Lo sciopero, il 15° negli ultimi quattro anni, è stato proclamato contro la pratica diffusa del subappalto e del “wage theft”, il furto di salario compiuto dalle compagnie di [...]
          Report: Wage Theft Greater Issue Than Shoplifting        
Report: Wage Theft Greater Issue Than Shoplifting PIERRE, S.D. – Retail employers steal as much from their workers as shoplifters steal from stores, according to a new report. The progressive policy group Demos compared minimum wage theft data from the Economic Policy Institute with shoplifting data from the Global Retail Theft Barometer. ...(Read More)
          Papa John's Franchise Owner Sentenced to Jail Time For Wage Theft        

In a ruling as unusual as it is heartening for wage advocates, a Papa John’s franchise owner has been sentenced to 60 days in jail for wage theft.

Read more...


          Morano: Stop Wage Theft!        
Democrat lawmaker discusses her bill on the subject.
          Lower Risk of Punishment for Wage Theft Than Shoplifting        
Lower Risk of Punishment for Wage Theft Than Shoplifting BOISE, Idaho – Retail employers steal as much from their workers as shoplifters steal from stores, according to a new report. The progressive policy group Demos compared minimum wage theft data from the Economic Policy Institute with shoplifting data from the Global Retail Theft Barometer. Between 2013 and 2015, Demos found employers underpaid or otherwise skimped on wages worth $15 billion each year. ...(Read More)
          Wage theft victims have little chance of recouping pay in Illinois        
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          Sep 20: Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 (Free Webcast)        
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017 on September 20, 2017 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm Eastern. The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages. School discipline is a major driving force in the inequitable educational outcomes faced by low-income children and children of color, posing significant harm to students who are not adequately represented. Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are facing school discipline. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, economic instability, and inadequate education. This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program. What You Will Learn An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving: State public benefits, including General Assistance, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal; Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income; Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8"); Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments; Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and School discipline, including representing students at expulsion hearings. Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including: Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery; Drafting position statements/hearing briefs; Presenting your case at hearing;and Alternatives: Informal resolution Rehearings and further appeals California law and practice specifics Who Should Attend All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and non-profit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program. More Information and Registration
          Video: Wage Theft of Tomas Gonzalez        
One of our workers, Tomas Gonzalez interviewed on his wage theft after employers refused to pay him. After receiving more than 3 court decisions in his favor, Tomas has yet to be paid. The wage theft cases go back to 2009. … Continued
          9to5 Regional Leadership Conference        
Dear Special Friends of Peace & Justice,

This is it. This is the fight of our lifetimes. Working families are fighting for their lives in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. This war on workers is not being waged on the other side of the world, but right here in Santa Clara County, California. More than 400 Santa Clara County workers continue to face abusive misclassification as "dependent contractors".

Each year, the Bay Area Chapter of 9to5, National Association of Working Women convenes a public leadership conference to highlight changes needed for family friendly workplaces. Click the picture below to view a 6-minute video about issues at our upcoming conference:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFX_dS0afcs


What:
Changing the Workplace, Changing the World
Leadership Conference

Welcome:
Erik Larsen, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Keynote Address:
Kim Bobo, Executive Director and founder of Chicago’s Interfaith Worker Justice Center

Special Luncheon Guest:
Sally Lieber, Former Speaker Pro Tempore California State Assembly

Presenters:

Brandy Davis, Labor Project for Working Families
Peter Woiwode, California Partnership
Tiffany Crain, Young Workers United

When and Where:
2302 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA – Second Floor
San Jose, CA 95131
Saturday, April 2, 2011
8:30 AM


Noted community organizer, author and workers' rights advocate Kim Bobo will address 9to5’s 7th annual leadership conference, "Changing the Workplace, Changing the World", in San Jose. Bobo is Executive Director and founder of Chicago’s Interfaith Worker Justice Center, the nation’s largest network of people of faith engaging in local and national actions to improve wages, benefits, and conditions for workers, especially those in the Low-wage economy. She is co-author of "Organizing for Social Change", a widely used manual for organizers, and of "Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of American Workers are Not Getting Paid and What We Can Do About It."

As I write this, it appears the State of California is headed for, yet another, budget meltdown. Join us for a day of workshops and discussions about how to fight for California's working families.

More Info:
408-2066-7992
http://9to5.org/local/california/RLC

9to5 Bay Area, National Association of Working Women
2302 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95131



We really need your support, now more than ever.

          De Leon’s Double Standard: Fighting wage theft everywhere but Tom Steyer’s hedge fund        
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León recently accused the media of holding Latino politicians to a “double standard.” “There is a double standard in the media,” De Leon told La Opinion. “If a white politician has an event at Walt Disney Concert Hall its fine, nobody says anything, but if a Latino politician has [...]