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Los Angeles Leads US in wage theft

By Ross Frasier for Press TV

Los Angeles is known as the wage theft capital of America. A study from the University of California at Los Angeles shows that employers steal more from workers in Los Angeles than in New York or Chicago. And each year, more employers decide to take advantage of workers, most of whom are immigrants. There are an estimated 750,000 low wage workers in Los Angeles.

Labor experts say more than two-thirds of those workers are a victim of wage theft and more than 80 percent of them have overtime stolen from them. The study shows that employers are stealing more than 26 million dollars each week from their workers. Victor Narro with the UCLA Labor Center says wage theft is a humanitarian crisis. Narro says America’s existing labor laws aren’t doing enough to stop it. That’s why the Los Angeles Coalition Against Wage Theft is pushing for a city ordinance that would crack down on employers who cheat their workers out of pay. The ordinance would also protect workers who come forward about wage theft. Many immigrant workers are afraid to report theft out of fear of being deported. If city officials agree to pass the ordinance, Los Angeles will become one of the few U.S. cities, along with Denver, Colorado and Austin, Texas, to hold employers criminally responsible for failing to pay their workers.