Thousands Across U.S. Mobilize Against Wage Theft

This is an opportunity to speak about an extreme case of wage theft that happened at one of the food concessions at the New York State Fair this year.

Actions, Protests, Vigils in 30+ Cities to Stand Up for Unpaid Workers

On a telephone press conference on November 17 at 11 a.m. EST, faith leaders and workers rights advocates will kick off the November 18 National Day of Action Against Wage Theft, as thousands of people in more than 30 cities across the country mobilize to stand up for workers whose employers deny them wages they’ve rightfully earned.

More than 30 national organizations and thousands of workers and faith leaders affiliated with Interfaith Worker Justice will participate in actions on Thursday, November 18 in Albany, New York; Austin, Texas; Bangor, Maine; Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Denver; Detroit; El Paso, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Houston; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Los Angeles; Madison, Wisconsin; Memphis; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; New York City; Lakewood, New Jersey; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle; South Bend, Indiana; Syracuse, New York; Tucson, Arizona; Washington, DC; and other cities.

WHAT: Telephone press conference launching the National Day of Action Against Wage Theft

WHO:

Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice and Author of Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid—And What We Can Do About It

• Rabbi Renée Bauer, Director of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin

• Rebecca Fuentes, Director of the Workers’ Center of Central New York

• Rev. Daniel Klawitter, Chairperson, Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of Colorado

WHEN: Wednesday, November 17, 11 a.m. EST

CALL-IN INFO: 888-674-0222, Call ID: Wage Theft

RSVP: Please RSVP to Kristin Williams at Faith in Public Life to reserve your place on the call (kwilliams@faithinpubliclife.org, 202.459.8625).

On Wednesday’s press call, Rebecca Fuentes from Syracuse will discuss how their local worker center is fighting for workers so badly abused by their employer that they were impoverished to the point of malnutrition. Leaders from Wisconsin and Colorado will share more about their local actions, including a rally outside a local District Attorney’s office to demand the prosecution of wage theft cases and a public event with testimonies about wage theft from day laborers, attorneys, and the Department of Labor.

Events on the National Day of Action Against Wage Theft will include protests at businesses guilty of wage theft to demand back wages for workers and events at which political leaders, workers, faith leaders, community groups, and labor unions will present new initiatives to end wage theft.

In Houston, a worker center will release a local report on wage theft and will send a “Justice Bus” around the city to call attention to local businesses that steal their workers’ wages. Other innovative local events include a text messaging campaign, a “Worst Employers” Awards ceremony, “Know Your Rights” workshops for workers, a jazz funeral for lost wages and a Thanksgiving-themed auction and a dramatization against wage theft in Memphis.

One focus of the National Day of Action will be the need to strengthen the enforcement of wage and hour laws, support community wage theft prevention programs, and prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. State laws to stop wage theft have already passed in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, and a first-ever county ordinance was passed in Miami-Dade County.

“As the crisis for working families in the economy has deepened, so too has the crisis of wage theft,” said Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid-And What We Can Do About It. “The National Day of Action Against Wage Theft Day will engage religious leaders, low-wage workers, community organizations, unions and allies in setting forth principles of justice and fairness, especially in rough economic times.”

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