We won approval of SB 588 in the State Senate – a bill that will finally begin to address the rampant practice of wage theft across California. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon came to our rally before the vote to express his unwavering support for the bill.
Caravans from all over the state – from Southern and Northern California – converged in Sacramento for a big push against wage theft. Members of SEIU-USWW, KIWA, Car Washeros, IDEPSCA jornaleros, SEIU California, and other allies rallied with a united voice at the Capitol and in the lead up to the vote.
Up next is the State Assembly but the vote in the Senate marked a pivotal point for workers. Widespread wage violations are a symptom of a larger breakdown in the fundamentals of a fair economy, and a driver of income inequality in our nation.
Every week, workers in low-wage industries take home paychecks that fall far short of what they need to provide the basics of food and shelter for their families. Saving for college or retirement is an impossible dream. To make matters worse, the vast majority (83%) of workers who win their wage theft cases never see a dime.
A report by U.S. Labor Secretary Perez released late last year found that there are nearly 400,000 minimum wage violations in California every week. Raising the wage is one challenge – but enforcing it is another challenge, perhaps even a bigger challenge.
But we can begin to address this problem with Senate Bill 588 that targets deadbeat employers to make sure they won’t steal wages from workers again.
SB588 empowers the Labor Commissioner with better tools to go after repeat offenders and helps workers collect unpaid judgments in three ways:
(1) IT TARGETS DEADBEAT EMPLOYERS.
(2.) SB 588 REDUCES ABUSE OF OUR CORPORATE LAWS by extending individual accountability.
(3) SB 588 empowers the labor commissioner to improve collections of stolen wages.
Our coalition has been leading in the Fight for 15 campaign, which has already sparked minimum wage increases for over 80 million Americans. Just very recently, we were able to secure a historic vote in Los Angeles to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will lift 700,000 Angelenos out of poverty!
But we have to make sure that we put real teeth in California’s labor laws to keep deadbeat employers accountable!
We have to keep telling our stories, and keep up the pressure for action.
Up next, on the week of June 15 working people will march against wage theft on Justice for Janitors Day.
Stay tuned. Se puede?!