The other day I was grabbing a bite to eat with a friend of mine and as usual we drifted into a conversation about work. He expressed frustration with his employer because his check came out short and he suspects that his boss has not been paying him for all the hours he has worked. He is only a few hours short and he thought he was lucky because one of his coworkers is owed many more hours and she is on the verge of quitting.
Unfortunately, this is not the only conversation that I have had with someone close to me about their boss short-changing them. Wage theft is a widespread problem. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) 64% of low-wage workers experience wage theft each week, on average, low-wage workers lose $51 per week to wage theft, or $2634 per year. For someone making minimum wage that is a staggering loss.
Wage theft is insidious and prevalent because many employers take advantage that their employees will be too intimidated to confront them over a few hours pay. Many workers don’t regularly track their hours on their own, falsely assuming that the employer’s time tracking systems will protect them. They won’t. Meanwhile, the boss profits off of stolen hours and already underpaid workers are struggling to make ends meat.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are a variety of actions that workers can take. Starting with tracking your hours and getting in touch with We Are Oregon’s wage theft team by calling the wage theft hotline 503-345-7831 or signing up online.
Many of you have read about Carmen, a restaurant worker who took on her boss with the help of the community and won back missing wages and improved the working environment for herself and her coworkers. Carmen’s victory proved that by organizing with your community and co-workers you can win and ensure that you get paid for all of your work. If you feel that you have been short changed by your boss call the wage theft hotline 503-345-7831 and fight for your wages. These days every penny counts.
We Are Oregon