Low-wage workers struggle for dignity on the job everyday. Not only do they have to put up with the dismal salaries they earn, but many have to fight to just to get all the money owed to them in their paychecks.
As this blog has noted many times, port truck drivers struggle with wage theft, and the Teamsters are fighting on their behalf. But across other sectors of the economy, workers continue to suffer, many of them in silence. And that not only hurt those families, but America as well.
The latest example is four current and former Papa John's franchisees in New York City, who agreed to pay out nearly $500,000 to their workers to settle a wage theft probe brought by state and federal officials. Employees at nine restaurants in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn were affected.
It's a continuing problem not only for Papa John's, but the fast food industry as a whole, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said:
Once again, we’ve found Papa John’s franchises in New York that are ripping off their workers and violating critical state and federal laws. Fast food chains across the State should be on notice: we will not stop until your workers are treated with respect and paid lawful wages. Once again, I call on Papa John’s and other fast food companies to step up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming the workers who make and deliver your food.
David Weil, administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's wage and hour division, explains why such practices jeopardize businesses:
Employers who underpay their employees not only deprive workers of the funds needed to buy their food, pay their rent or attend to other necessities, they undercut those law-abiding employers who pay their employees properly in the first place
Wage theft is a significant issue in this country today. That's why the Teamsters included it in its "Let's Get America Working" platform. Why should everyday Americans suffer while corporations rake in huge profits? They shouldn't.
If policymakers and the private sector truly want to get the U.S. back on track, they'll do what's right and create a system that works for everyone.