Chuck Sheketoff, the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy writes that Oregon’s minimum wage falls far short of giving working families economic security, so imagine the difficulties workers face when they are not even paid the minimum.
A recent U.S Department of Labor study reported that minimum wage violations — a form of wage theft — push families into poverty and create costs for the public, due to the connection between violations of the minimum wage and increased use of public assistance programs, such as SNAP.
One in four claims filed with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries are for violations of minimum wage law. These are only the “tip of the iceberg,” because many workers, who suffer wage violations, do not complain for fear of losing their job. Complaints are filed mostly by workers in restaurants and bars and in the business services industry —office cleaning and staffing agencies.
The Oregon legislature has now the opportunity to put in place stronger rules to make sure that workers receive at least the minimum wage, by enacting “The Fair Wage Recovery Act”, SB 718.
As Voice of the Poor, we are following this legislation on Wage Theft. Recently we heard that Bill 718 was stuck in a Senate Committee and needed some action to get it to the floor for a vote.
We had a list of eight key Senators to contact. I sent out the alert to our VOP members and asked them to let me know if they had taken action. Not all responded, but I do know that Vincentian members of VOP had contacted at least seven of the eight.
In addition, our Archdiocesan Trustee, Stan Miller, took the issue to a recent meeting of the Portland Archdiocesan Council and all members present were supportive of our action on this issue. As soon as I get contact information from Stan, I will send them the information I have on this issue and ask them to spread it further through their District Councils.