People getting by on low wages also tend to lose out on overtime they’ve earned, and they’re more likely to get paid less than the minimum wage. Those are the findings in “Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers,” a new study by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage Foundations.
In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.
The Times calls the study “the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade.” Of the workers interviewed, 68 percent had been through at least one violation of their pay rights in the past work week. Female illegal immigrants were most likely to report they’d earned less than the minimum wage — in industries ranging from garment work to childcare.
The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.
Its amazing how this can still happen in this day and age. The workers compensation system was set-up to help these people. But, obviously, the system is broken.
We need to get the Labor Dept on Board to make sure they do a better job of protecting our workers — after all, as John D. Rockefeller said, U.S. workers are the drivers of our economy, if they are not happy, we will be going nowhere fast.