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Stand with Sen. Brown: Tell Congress to fight wage theft.

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Petition to Congress:

"Support the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act, which would increase penalties on businesses that steal from their employees and make it easier for workers to receive compensation."

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    Stand with Sen. Brown: Tell Congress to fight wage theft.

    It’s bad enough that businesses have kept wages flat for decades and the minimum wage isn’t enough to keep people out of poverty. To make matters worse, employers across the country are actually stealing from workers and denying them the pay they earned.

    It’s called wage theft, and it happens all over the country. While low-wage workers suffer the most, no one is immune. In some cases, employers pay minimum wage – or lower – in violation of their agreements and federal law. In others, bosses deny overtime pay, pay for fewer hours than were really worked – or simply refuse to pay workers at all.1

    Federal penalties for wage theft are weak, and workers have too little power to demand compensation from employers who exploit them. But now, progressive champion Sen. Sherrod Brown – along with Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Rosa DeLauro – is pushing a new bill to crack down.2 Let’s show that Americans demand bold action against thieving companies by getting behind this bill in a big way.

    Stand with Sen. Brown: Tell Congress to fight wage theft.

    Approximately one quarter of low-wage workers are paid less than minimum wage each year, and three quarters are denied time-and-a-half for overtime hours worked, according to one 2009 study. The same study estimated that Americans in low-wage jobs lose an average of $2,634 annually to wage theft, out of an average of $17,616 total earnings. It takes place all over the country, and while low-wage and non-union jobs are more susceptible, it happens to everyone.3

    Under current law, businesses caught denying payment for hours worked only have to compensate workers at the minimum wage. So even if the employee was promised $10 or $15 an hour and then went unpaid, the company caught cheating them only has to pay them $7.25 for each hour worked.4

    It’s not right, and Sen. Brown, Sen. Murray, and Rep. DeLauro are trying to do something about it. Their bill would make it harder for employers to cheat by mandating that all workers receive a pay stub. It would stiffen the penalties and increase the fines on businesses that are caught, especially repeat offenders. And it would give workers new power to demand compensation, including allowing them to benefit from class-action lawsuits without signing up for the case in advance.5

    Stand with Sen. Brown: Tell Congress to fight wage theft.

    Republicans in Congress are no fan of this bill – but they have supported similar measures in the past. For instance, federal contractors are required to pay the prevailing wage for the area in which they work, but many ignore those rules and pay the minimum wage. Republicans have supported efforts to crack down on contractors who cheat workers with public dollars.6,7 But now we need to raise the stakes and force them to show whether they stand with thieving bosses or hard-working Americans.

    Far too many people are being robbed of money they earned by an unscrupulous employer. We need to shine a spotlight on wage theft and help these Democrats in Congress fight back.

    Stand with Sen. Brown: Tell Congress to fight wage theft.

    Thank you for speaking out,

    1. Wage Theft: FAQ,” WageTheft.org, retrieved March 17, 2016.
    2. Dave Jamieson, “Democrats Roll Out Plan To Tackle Wage Theft,” Huffington Post, March 16, 2016
    3. Annette Bernhardt et. al., “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: A Report,” UnprotectedWorkers.org, 2009.
    4. Jamieson, “Democrats Roll Out Plan To Tackle Wage Theft.”
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Annette Bernhardt, et. al., “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: A Report.”