My cover story in the City Paper a few weeks ago received a lot of reader feedback. Mostly stories about their own experiences. CP reprinted a couple of letters and emails they’ve received in this week’s edition. The commenter Dissenta wrote:
“Sent this article to Philly City Council with the request they get a hold of Miami and Seattle wage-theft ordinances and use them as a model to create one for Philly, telling them there is no excuse not to act immediately on this, especially since Philly could end up with cash in the till in the long run.”
You can also call your councilperson and ask them to act on this issue. You can find their phone numbers here.
One of the emails CP received about this story illustrates a point I didn’t get to make in my article. Anti-wage theft laws are hugely important, and effective as New York State and Miami-Dade county show, but just as (if not more important) would be a law to make it easier to form a union. (American labor law is extremely bias against workers.) But if you are able to organize, unions are ideal anti-wage theft devices. That is, in fact, one of the reasons they were formed in the first place. Compare and contrast this reader’s experience of union/non-union trucking firms.
I was recently working as a gasoline and petroleum delivery driver for a some what large carrier in south west philly and I was told I would be paid by the hour but it would be a computer generated hourly rate and if I had any delay time outside the normal rate I would be paid for that and overtime after 45 hours per week … I kept track of my time waited 3 weeks for my first pay check and I when it came it just had a gross amount and a net after taxes nothing on there about the amount of hours I work or how much per hour so I added my math to there’s and it was off by 11 hours and near about 350 dollars so … months went by same thing every week hours and money was off I waited the 90 days to see about benefits they were next to nothing so I sought legal action and basically was told by a labor lawyer it not worth it it will be tied up in the courts for months if not years and the money needed for that is much more than I would get back so its best to just quit or try to organize other employees for a class action or form a union … I had enough I finally found a great job under the teamster union but this is a familiar practice going a lot of outfits are milking the recession the country is in to commit highway robbery they need to be held at the same standards as major criminals thank you for the article and letting people know what is going on out there.