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Economic War on Low Wage Workers Continues

A report from the Economic Policy Institute finds that low-wage workers are robbed far more often than banks, gas stations and convenience stores combined. The culprits are employers who fail to adhere to minimum wage laws or pay overtime.

“The country suffers an epidemic of wage theft, as large numbers of employers violate minimum-wage, overtime, and other wage and hour laws with virtual impunity,” University of Oregon economist Gordon Lafer wrote in the report.

Such workplace abuses are occurring as some of the most powerful corporate lobbies attack labor standards and workplace protections, including minimum wage laws, paid sick leave, and even child labor protections.

“According to our statistics,” EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey observed, “from 1983 to 2010 the bottom 60 percent of Americans actually lost wealth, despite the fact that the overall U.S. economy has grown over this same time period. This is a remarkable indictment of how the economy is not working for everybody.”


Caroline Fairchild, “Low-Wage Workers Are Robbed More than Banks, Gas Stations and Convenience Stores Combined,” Huffington Post, Oct 31, 2013,

Josh Eidelson, “84 Percent of NYC Fast Food Workers Report Wage Theft in a New Survey,” The Nation, May 16, 2013,

Ramy Srour , “Corporations Rewriting US labor Laws,” Inter Press Service, Nov 1, 2013,

Gordon Lafer, “The Legislative Attack on American Wages and Labor Standards, 2011–2012,” Economic Policy Institute, October 31, 2013,

Student Researcher: Ryan Kemp (Florida Atlantic University)

Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)

  • Forrest Hopping January 29, 2014

    SLAVERY, INDENTURED SERVITUDE, theft of salaries–it never stops. The big fish eat the little fish. This is why we need a strong government that will put all the thieves in jail. Anyone who takes advantage of our democratic system for undemocratic ends deserves 30 years in prison. The wrong people are now in jail.

  • David Dunn January 30, 2014

    Employers such as these should not be allowed to deduct payroll from the income tax. Let that come from profits and shareholders. The tax code should not be a haven for the criminal class.

  • John February 3, 2014

    You rich employers screwing your employee’s has been going on for a long, long time and then you wonder why some politicians (Democrats no Republicans) want to put some social nets out there to help catch some of the screwed. You republicans would screw your own grandma while she is terminally ill or mentally unstable and that’s a fact about you sick-ass republicans. Woman and Blacks that are republican have to be have to be totally stupid and don’t know a thing about politics. Please reply if you think I got it all wrong.

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