Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:20 PM
marmar (66,218 posts)
The Wage Theft Epidemic
from In These Times:
The Wage Theft Epidemic
Thanks to a wave of government cuts, there’s no one to stop your boss from withholding your pay.
BY Spencer Woodman
Last October, Anthony M. Van Buren drove 135 miles south from his home in Charlottesville, Va., to the small town of Moneta in search of his former boss, Robert Brown, the owner of Star Valley Painting Contractors Inc. The visit was neither invited nor welcome. According to Van Buren, Brown’s site manager had fired him, along with several others, after they’d complained about not being paid for their work on a large painting project. The company, he says, owed him more than $1,000 for three weeks of work. Struggling financially, Van Buren, 59, had tried and failed to work out a deal with his landlord to forestall eviction. He needed his pay, and fast.
Driving to Moneta was a last resort. Days before, Van Buren had called Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry to report his employer’s nonpayment, a crime under Virginia state law. To his disbelief, the agency told him they were no longer taking wage-and-hour claims and that it was up to him to investigate and prosecute the alleged crime. They referred him to a private lawyer, but the attorney’s fees alone would have amounted to more than the sum he sought.
Van Buren brought along two other men: his cousin and another fired worker also seeking back wages from Brown. Having grown up in Harlem in the 1960s, Van Buren was no stranger to confrontation. Yet he did worry that the unannounced visit would attract the attention of the Moneta sheriff, an unappealing prospect for an African-American out-of-towner entering a tiny municipality at the foot of the Appalachians. He even considered, briefly, alerting the local authorities of his plan. “I wasn’t going up there for no trouble or anything,” Van Buren says. “All I wanted was my money.”
As the three men sped through the southern Shenandoah Valley in a 1989 Honda Accord, Van Buren prayed for two things: that he’d get his money, and that, in doing so, he wouldn’t be harmed. .................(more)
The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14595/wage_theft_epidemic/
7 replies, 969 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
The Wage Theft Epidemic (Original post)
|Sekhmets Daughter||Feb 2013||#4|
Response to marmar (Original post)
Wed Feb 20, 2013, 07:30 PM
Enrique (25,973 posts)
1. when I hear about record corporate profits
I suspect the kind of crime described in that great article, and similar worker-squeezing tactics. All over the country.