Workers in the US

The Boston Globe has an article about wage theft in the construction industry:

For more than three years, workers doing asbestos removal and demolition jobs for several Woburn companies were paid in cash, resulting in more than $700,000 in unreported wages, federal prosecutors charged in an indictment last week.

Meanwhile, construction workers around the state — particularly immigrants hired by subcontractors — say they sometimes go for weeks without pay. When they do get paid, it can be less than promised, and overtime pay is virtually nonexistent.

Many of them are hired as independent contractors, without the job protections or tax deductions of a traditional employment relationship.

The practice, known as wage theft, “has reached epidemic levels” in Massachusetts, namely in the booming residential construction industry, according to research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This comes on the heels of yesterday’s article about performers in Faneuil Hall being asked to pay to perform and last week’s NY Times article about nail salons (and it’s also very unhealthy):

Once an indulgence reserved for special occasions, manicures have become a grooming staple for women across the economic spectrum. There are now more than 17,000 nail salons in the United States, according to census data. The number of salons in New York City alone has more than tripled over a decade and a half to nearly 2,000 in 2012.

But largely overlooked is the rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry. The New York Times interviewed more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, in four languages, and found that a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid. Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse. Employers are rarely punished for labor and other violations.

And on Mother’s Day, there’s the great rant by John Oliver on the lack of paid leave for mothers:

Of course, a lot of workers don’t get paid vacation time either and wage theft is systemic across a wide swath of the US economy. It must be the fault of union thugs.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Happy Labor Day | Petunias

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