Curbing Wage Theft in the City, You’re Welcome

Flickr image courtesy of mcbarnicle.

The money you’re owed for the work you do. Sounds reasonable.

And today San Francisco officials heard a rundown about how well the city handles employers who steal your pay. Basically, San Francisco could do better, said Wage Theft Task Force reps, and detailed as much in their 37-page report.

They made recommendations like hiring more city staffers to shake your back-pay free from wage-cheats (the role of the Office of Labor and Standards Enforcement). The Task Force also called for prosecuting more violators (the roles of the city attorney and district attorney).

Fortifying wage protections, Supervisor David Campos’ office noted in a press release applauding the Task Force, is a far-sighted and prudent gesture: There’s a measure on the November ballot to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2018, if you didn’t know.

Of course, wage theft is a federal violation. The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act protects our paychecks. State law, too – Contact the California Labor Commissioner’s Office if you’re owed money, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not.

San Francisco has a minimum wage higher than the state or federal minimum at $10.74/hour, and the city also does wage-cheat-hunting work. Protecting residential home-care and food-service workers are of particular concern; according to this city report these wage earners are at a high risk of getting stiffed. In 2013, the city collected almost $1.5 million in back pay (with interest!) from wage-cheats. Remember that $525,000 settlement with the Chinatown restaurant Dick Lee Pastry?

So let’s hear it for the guys out there protecting your overtime, lunch breaks, and right to earn the minimum wage.

Kick back, read the San Francisco Wage Theft Task Force report, here

The Wage Theft Task Force is made up of interagency government reps, plus members tapped from business, labor unions and low-wage worker advocates. Created by a 2012 Board of Supervisors ordinance, Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar are credited as the entity’s main proponents, along with the Progressive Workers Alliance. 

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  1. Sam

    So this alleged concern is really just a pretext for the city t hire more people?

    The real wage theft is the excessive taxes that we all pay to employ an army of bureaucrats at city hall with their gold-plated pensions and healthcare benefits.

    Can we please start with that wage theft, rather than meddling in the voluntary arrangements freely made by consenting adults?

    • Kevin Smith

      The lazy, do little, city employees are way overpaid, something like 130K to private employees 65k……

      • Backtotheburbs

        You should say that to a cop, firefighter or paramedic next time you’re in trouble …

        • Sam

          B2TB, personally I am OK with giving cops and fire guys a good deal because I see public safety as the one really important thing that the city does.

          It’s all the other hangers-on and bloated bureaucracy that I resent giving these deals to. Much of what the city does should be privatized, outsourced or just not done at all.

          Oakland has the right idea in one regard. It spend 75% of its budget on public safety, so there isn’t much left over for the vultures and parasites. The only way to rail in municipal excess is to starve the beast.

  2. Kevin Smith

    Yet they love to steal from poor segregated landlords with rent control theft !!!! Why not limit all pay in the city to 0.60% of the CPI? If it’s okay for segregated landlords, it should be okay for everyone else, fair is fair.

    • Backtotheburbs

      Yes, and let’s cap your property appreciation at 0.6% and repeal Prop 13. Oh, and also no tax breaks and mortgage subsidies.

      Oh, the poor, poor landlords. Property ownership is a choice not a right. Only a small over vocal minority of landlords here are complaining. Plenty of long time SF residents are landlords and actually care about their renters and their contributions to the community. Maybe you should expand your horizons and meet them. Or maybe they want nothing to do with you.

      What kind of upbringing and education leads to such poor decision making? What parents or schools teach that money and profit is the end all and that other people are just disposable wealth making devices?

      • Sam

        It’s good that you understand that being a landlord is a choice. Because that will help you understand why many landlords give up that choice and send Mister Ellis around for a house call.

        Glad we have your understanding.

        Oh, and BTW, even with Prop13 CA municipalities have enjoyed average annual increases in property tax receipts since the 1978 passing of Prop 13.

        So the State does not have a revenue problem because of Prop 13. That’s a myth.

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