Parisian poet Anatole France said "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”
He was poeting about how laws penalize desperate actions borne of need while largely ignoring crimes inspired by greed. We've all heard stories about people spending years in prison or being killed for stealing food, while corporations that rob employees of breaks and overtime pay get off with a fine. We always assumed the corporations got off easy due to a combination of hiring expensive lawyers and the difficultness of deciding who to lock up when an entire company is at fault.
Turns out the real answer is worse: In most states, wage theft has no carceral penalty. Nobody goes to jail for stealing from workers. Victims of wage theft have to file a civil suit to get their money back. Most people can't afford to sue, so plenty of perpetrators don't even have the blemish of a lawsuit on their record. How many celebrity entrepreneurs and big name companies would be out of business if they faced the same consequences for stealing that everyone else does?
This Friday, Pam & Dyalekt are back with the real on wage theft and what people are doing to keep employers accountable, plus a few indie rap songs about who the real thieves are. #changethesystem #inequity #financialliteracy #financialabuse #letsdobetter
Music Featured in This Episode:
Real Thieves Wear Suits by Rebel Allianz
W.A.G.E.S. by James Ray
Thrift Shop by Mister Waugh
Just like hot pockets and the mascot from the Rockets justice is best served when it's loud and it's obnoxious. Welcome to brunch and budget, the show about personal finance and racial economic inclusion with your host, today it's just Dyalekt. I am a lifetime independent creative professional, who has 15 more years experience in education, and in the last five years in finance education in particular. And we're going to be talking today about wage theft. Brunch & Budget is part of the Race and Wealth Podcast Network. Here's your host, it's me. We don't have Pam with us today. And today's gonna be a little bit shorter of a podcast episode than usual. Like I was saying a little bit earlier, it's been kind of a rough couple of months for us just like it has been for everybody. I know y'all are going through it too. But we have to talk about this stuff that's really important and kind of terrifying. I don't know if you know this, but wage theft is one of the number one ways that people are stealing anything, especially stealing money in America. And it's not a crime. I mean, it's a crime. But it's not criminalized. Like you know how they said that they decriminalized marijuana. You're like what do you mean they decriminalized marijuana? People can still roll up on you and give you a ticket. Yeah, they can give you a ticket. But the idea was that they weren't supposed to lock you up for it, even though people are still being locked up for it. But you know, that's neither here nor there. That's where they've got folks locked up. On the other side of the coin. We have had employers who have been not paying their employees, people who have not been paying their contractors, whether they're corporations or whether they're individuals. And this is something that is not criminalized meaning we don't have a criminal penalty. There's a civil penalty, you can be sued, if you don't pay your wages, but you are not going to be put in jail. I think that's for the most part. I think there's like one or two states that has a little bit of a way for you to be put in jail if you are not paying your wages. But that's wild, right? How are we not putting people in jail for not paying their wages but we put people in jail for stealing bread for stealing pens for stealing liquor or stealing any sort of property, so it's the way things go. So let's back it up, because I'm getting a little excited about things. And I want to talk about what it is when we talk about wage theft. So be specific from a great website, one of our resources, wagetheftisacrime.com. Wage theft occurs when employees do not pay workers according to the law. Examples of wage theft include paying less than minimum wage, not paying workers overtime, not allowing workers to take a meal and rest breaks, requiring off the clock work and taking workers tips. That sounds like so many different industries. I know so many people who've talked about Yeah, it's a big part of the company policy, even though you know, you're only supposed to work 40 hours and we've got this overtime policy. Yeah, you'll stay a little bit extra time. If you are part of the team, right? It's always like that. You're a part of the team. You're going to do these things for us and it's like, ugh. So let's talk a little bit about the math. Hey, what's up Berlin. teh Economic Policy Institute looked at the data in 2017 from the 10 most populous states and concluded that 10 of those states in 10 of those states 2.4 million workers, that's approximately 17% of the eligible low wage work workforce lose $8 billion every year in unpaid wages. That's just from 10 State's, $8 billion every year. We also know that wage stuff doesn't just happen in fly by night businesses. A 2018 report from good jobs first analyzed more than 4000 Wage and Hour cases. And the research found that wage theft is that some of the largest corporations but more more than half of wage thefts involve fortune 500 companies or Fortune Global 500 companies. So wage theft is something that's happening with big amazing companies that are all over the stock market that's making money for their shareholders. It's happening with smaller employees and employers who have two to four employees and don't really know what they're doing and are messing around with the data and trying to skirt taxes. It's happening with famous companies. There are sports companies who do this. It's happening with companies that you've never heard of. Wage theft is really one of the most prevalent things. So like, David King, the district director for the US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division says that wage theft is everywhere. Every day they have investigators going out into the field and finding people who are not being paid, right. King said that wage theft is most common in industries like hospitality, janitorial and Secretary services. Another study from Economic Policy Institute said that government and private attorneys recover nearly a billion dollars on behalf of wage theft victims in 2012 alone. In Minnesota, they've got reports and I'm just throwing some of these reports at you because I think I just need to be blown away by the wild numbers of these. In Minnesota, The Department of Labor and Industry said most of these complaints are coming to the agency from employers stiffing former employees on their final paycheck. Just like most of y'all can't get it together with the landlord whenever you're trying to get your deposit back. So many employers love to stiff their employees on that last paycheck because they know you're starting a new job, you're doing something different with your life. And you're probably not going to want to spend a whole bunch of time to try to get that $500 or that $1,000 that last paycheck that you're trying to get back from these people. We're talking in the Instagram, we had someone who was talking about when they fought wage theft, and we're gonna share their story a little bit later. But when they were talking about it, they said it was just for a couple of dollars. And I think that's one of the big insidious things with wage stuff is for just a couple of dollars, people will take away our ability to get properly compensated for the things that we do. And you know, every time you take a compromise, people take more and more. So at one point, it's a they cut off a little bit of my overtime, but it's really it's just the overtime pay. It was just an hour technically that's $10 so that's not a big deal. And then they stopped paying you overtime overall. And then they stopped paying the proper ways that they're paying you for the daily rate, and you have no ability to fight this because you need even the meager amount they're giving you. And the thing about it is it increases income inequality. Because as we're getting poor, they're getting amazingly not just adding in terms of ones but as they're able to stiff everybody. They're growing in these amazing, huge new mathematical ways. So now we have less power to stop them. So what do we do about it? Well, when you talk to people at wagetheftisacrime.com, you know, they have different ways for us to fight about wage theft. The first move is to know the rights that you have, because I think a lot of us don't know what we should be paid, what the minimum wage is, and what I mean the minimum wage where we're at and what our overtime rights are. So if you go to wagetheftisacrime.com, you can check in and they have a lot of stuff specifically for California because they're very interested in a lot of farm and outdoor workers. But you know that in California, you're supposed to get overtime pay, you're supposed to get 1.5 times the regular rate for all hours over eight hours work day, real simple stuff. And if you're not getting these things, then you need to be talking to folks. We're gonna go to a song in a second and I'm gonna come back in a minute and talk a little bit more about what other places that people will find wage stuff. And it can be surprised because there's other ways that happen. So I want to go to an old song from 2011. If y'all remember 2011 there was another workers uprising called Occupy Wall Street and this is from I don't know if this was an official with any specific group, but something called the Occupy Wall Street mixtape by Rebel Alliance. Rebel Alliance is coming out of San Francisco and they got a song called Real Thieves Wear Suits.Song :
He lives in the St. Joe he killers and they offices play for keeps nail touch weapons but they know to Grim Reapers ways NATO as well as any bending the rules pace of fools play your long fuck down no some break the motherfucker cell towers command salary a half an hour colitis slow night wait this pursuit of happiness oh right so trifle you row yo dice thinking that chance chose yo life. They make the moves compare the numbers that determine whether you're working this summer in this one and guess what's for dinner? Yo pride lab in Greece left over from beast don't watcWhat's the step in a marble foyer that was cut out of another Space Mountain. Notice here these are some African statues I don't really fuck with that but the thing is starving to death and that's not involving me in the belly of the beast a dominance forever whatever's clever mean whatever get you paid and the one that got away is a multi million dollar deal going straight that's how it goes sometimes means fuck you paint your wife is your bitch and you carve is your baby life is a bitch means life is a bitch when you're broke and broke is a joke means everybody's left and when you down like that no one's asking if you need a hand and they wonder why the kid keep a backup plan in his waistline like fuck you I'm gonna take mine. They handed now sentences for that but the breach is similar at the same time. And now it shows you looking like gravestones rip cross the chest spread never came home Bank of America Bank of America. Merrill Lynch. Goldman Subject matter experts. in the world. money isn't everything show feel close to us sometimes when not figures next to the line that he signs can inspire you the mind like it's something to bond like it's got wings a sing songs in heaven and given that one could blame my bread for putting it down for once mighty gala low we can now but it still make them holla still make a young bro flesh cold medic still good shakes the Platinum gold addicts still got a big suits doing most damage still got a thug smashing your whole cabbage still so savaging still no answers the sociological equivalent of cancer, and not got the book to the contradiction happen now to fly with screaming buck, the system of waiting by the baggage carousel with the rest of you schmucks. They've got private jet airplanes gassed up and waiting to take them anywhere they want to go This mega rich hedge fund manager brings in an estimated $400 million fuck shoe classic sweatshop like a guy working 16 hours, right?Dyalekt :
Do y'all know that we also have wage theft going on in the National Football League in the NFL where people get paid millions of dollars to do their thing. Except not in certain places. And we're not talking about the concession stands, although people often see that in those places too. But in particular, cheerleaders. Cheerleaders in the NFL and the NBA are not being properly compensated, and for the past 10 years, they've been suing to get their proper due. In some places, you see wages where cheerleaders are getting less than $1,000 for an entire year, which is wild because one, we talk about how much money the athletes make and how much money everybody else is making it. But also think about how integral cheerleaders are to a lot of sports. Y'all from the 90s remember that the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were like a celebrity unto themselves. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders were as big as Troy Aikman and all the rest of them yet and still they made less than half of what the mascot made. So the reason behind that is that cheerleaders aren't actually listed as employees. You guys might know this in other industries. I mean, that's something that sort of goes on with the athletes as well, because they're independent contractors being paid. But they're being paid really meager amounts because they don't have any sort of collective bargaining, just like in professional wrestling and other fringe industries, where people have jobs that are sort of jobs and also sort of not, it's the same kind of thing that we see with Uber and Lyft today. They're expanding the idea of what it means to be a general contractor. So these cheerleaders that are coming out, I mean, they've got rehearsal time, they're out there in the games, they're just as athletic. They're working just as hard. They're really doing just as much to provide things for the games and they're paying pay like less than 1% of what things are going on. They've had to sue to get there due. Many of them are able to sue because being a cheerleader is one of their many jobs because being a cheerleader doesn't pay them enough to do their thing. They're told that the prestige and being close and in proximity to fame is enough, but really, that's never going to be enough for the really tough things about when we try to fight these powers. It's like it's not enough to be next to power. But if we're not up and next to power, then we're not going to listen to us. So what do we do about that? So I want to talk a little bit more about what we can do and some of the ways that we can fight wage theft. Again, before I was telling you, what you have to do is make a criminal suit and let folks know that you are suing the people who have experienced wage theft with that you've been a ways to affect that, that you've been a victim of wage that with, you have to go to a civil lawsuit and that can take many years, it can take many thousands of dollars. So one of the big problems with it is the court fees. So you know, based on a recent political investigation, talking about how six states in the country have no investigators to handle when ways violation so even when you make that lawsuit, you have to have your own independent investigation in at least a few of these states. While 26 additional states have less than 10 investigators. That means there's half the country where there are 10 people who can help you out in your civil case. They're also dictated on what they can and can't do in their off time. Yes, that's another thing. Another way that people are improperly compensated for their work. One of the tough things about wage theft is it often doesn't appear to be a monetary thing. And it's like, it's easy to quantify if I steal a loaf of bread from you, and the loaf of bread cost $5. It's $2 wholesale, we can apply prices to that. But when you're allowed, not allowing people to have other opportunities outside of where they are. I know that instacart had this policy where you had to have four hours on the clock. You had to sit there for four hours and be ready to do your thing to go into the grocery store. So you're sitting parked outside the grocery store ready to go in there and take your stuff out and go And buy and sell. And if nobody calls you on your instacart in those four hours, you don't get paid. You don't have any hourly wage, but yet you can't be anywhere else, you have to be ready for what they're doing. This is improper compensation for the thing that you're doing. We often say that you're not paid for your time, you're paid for your experience, and you're paid for your expertise. But in these situations, you literally are being paid for your time. It doesn't matter what it is that you're doing with your time. I think Pam always likes to say, with salary job, you literally get paid to poop, right? It's part of the thing that you could do. And that's all right, that's part of the contract as part of the agreement you have, you should be protected on those days when you get zero calls in your four hours of work. Because there are going to be plenty of other days when you get called so many times that you have no breaks in that four hours of work. So those balances aren't met, and when those people aren't compensated, that is another form of wage step. There aren't a lot of investigators out there to help us with it. And one of the things that's really tough about it is when you try to whistle blow when you try to talk HR or someone above you or manager or anyone else that's within the company. There's a lot of backlash. And it's been known that a number of employees across industries, they've been known to be demoted, they've been fired, they've had access to other companies been blackballed from entire industries. So it's really difficult doing this and like there aren't a lot of independent investigators or not a lot of people to help you get justice on that side, when you are trying to whistle blow and you were taken down. So this has been something that has really been difficult for the past 100 or so years that we've been doing this. And it's really only in the past 10, 15 years, that community organizations have really been getting together like wagetheftcrime.com, to try to give people the information that they need so they can do the steps that they need to do. You know, workers who come forward find that accessing legal assistance can be really costly. So legal aid programs, they're struggling to meet demand right now, hiring a private attorney costs 200 to $300 an hour, so most people are not going to be able to do this if they don't have some sort of free time and a lot of people were facing wage theft issues are people who work at places like your Walmart's who are not giving you enough hours and are not giving you enough pay so you have to have two or three jobs. And if you've got two or three jobs, that means even if you end up working only eightish hours between those jobs, getting back and forth between them means you straight up have zero hours in your day. No lawyers are talking to you on the weekends, no one's letting you get in and do those things. You're working those times two. Plus your employers are making you afraid that if you continue to blow whistles, they might take more than just actions of firing you or demoting you but also legal ones because the biggest victims of wage theft these days tend to be undocumented and foreign born workers. And these foreign born workers, they could actually be documented. It might be a thing where they have been there for a long time but they have a foreign last name. Employers have been known to make threats to foreign born and undocumented workers that they will call ice. And they will call other services to make sure that these people get either deported or detained in some kind of way. So this has been a real big deterrent for a lot of people coming forth about wage theft, because a lot of undocumented workers and a lot of foreign born workers are not paid for overtime and simply not paid at all or underpaid for the work that they had agreed to. So what's been going on right now is a lot of people have been talking about what to do about wage theft. And one of the good things about it is I know, we've had lots of conversations about prison industrial complex, the criminalization of everything we do. We talked just the other day about how less than half of the people in jail right now are in jail for violent crimes is actually something like what is it 10% of the people are in jail for violent crimes when in 1980. It was half the people who were in jail were in jail for violent crimes. We know the prison industrial complex is wack, the carceral system is wack. This is a terrible thing that we don't want to be a part of yet. And still, when we talk about how wage that is the only type of theft that doesn't earn you a trip to the slammer, this one is often argued in terms of the prison industrial complex. I was reading this series of debates back and forth from these cats in Australia, who were talking about how the US is starting to try to criminalize things, and they're worried about it. They said that prison industrial complex is a bad thing. And we don't want to continue and validate the carceral system by adding new criminal charges to it. What's funny about these arguments is they never talk about dismantling the current criminal charges for things like stealing food stealing to eat for minor infractions for accidental thefts, or all those types of thefts that people who are not in huge positions of power end up doing and spend 20, 30 years behind prison. So what do we do about that about the criminalization and about the fact that the carceral system is bad. You know, I know that I can't say I'm quite an abolitionist myself. But I really do think that the carceral system is ineffective, and is a problem for myriad reasons, because they are underfunded and poorly funded in terms of the stuff they give to help with recidivism, with education with helping folks reenter society, and also the laws that make people into lifetime criminals where you can't vote, you can't get many jobs, and it leaves you is limited options. I know all of those things are real, and they're important and they matter yet. And still, when we talk about the type of theft that happens in corporations, there needs to be some sort of consequence. The thing that really sucks about these civil suits that happen when people are suing the employers, these big name companies, I mean, folks like Amazon, and Apple, they've all been in these places. And when these huge companies get sued, they get pennies back. If you've ever been part of a class action lawsuit, I've probably been part of like a are nine like I don't think that I ever was like on the stand or even started it I like usually didn't know about it until it happened I was a victim of something, you know, it was a phone company I was with or a bank that I was with. And something bad happened to the bank, they were screwing me over in some kind of way that I didn't even know about. Because I'm just seeing money flow out of my account like the rest of us going what's going on y'all. And when the money when they would come back, it would be like, hey, so here's a letter saying that this bank, or this company screwed you out of $500 from your account that you didn't even know about, and we're gonna give you compensation is a check for $7. For the most part, when people do receive compensation from the civil suits, it's way below what they actually needed to get and getting lawyers fees is its own struggle. One of the things that the folks that wage such as crime and other organizations are trying to do is make sure that these fees are mandatory and are definitely taken care of, as far as the criminalization goes, if companies know that they're going to pay less than they would have had to pay by doing the right thing. And they don't have to worry about anybody in their staff getting any sort of criminal trouble. They're gonna keep doing it. It's a net positive. So while I do believe that the criminal justice system in America is awful, and I agree that it's not an awesome idea to add more crimes that we can lock people up for, I feel like in the grand scheme of things, if we're going to be still locking people up for stealing food, then we still need to be locking people up for keeping wages out of hands. That's just how it works, otherwise contracts me nothing. And that's kind of how it is in America. I know contracts really do mean nothing in America, but with I can't tell you how many Native American treaties have straight up been broken. I can't tell you how many of them have been broken in the past like 10 or 20 years, even my adult lifetime which is wild, and they have been so if those are broken, and our social contracts are also broken. I know the whole system is broken and it doesn't work. What about when it does? Because it does And it can. That's a good thing about when we talk about our criminal justice system and democracy that we have. Because while the criminal justice system isn't really working, democracy kind of does, and that's because we get to talk to each other. I love all of the journalists and all the artists, all the creatives, all the writers, all the sharers all the loud mouth's. Even the people that you see on social media. One of these people was talking about a time when they were in their early 20s. And they were working as a lifeguard for the city. And one week they worked for two hours for the paycheck only showed 40. They talked to their supervisor who said that instead of paying overtime, they decided to bank their hours. So they see the payment for those extra two hours at the normal rate on the paycheck, you know, instead of the raised rate for the overtime hours. The person who was the victim said that this was illegal, but the boss disagreed. They argued all the way up to the county commissioner who agreed to stop banking hours. A lot of people thought that it was ridiculous because I only got an extra $3.60 out of it, but I stopped the practice. This is amazing. And the thing about these success stories, I was just talking about the ways that they exponentially grow. I was trying to find the noising mathematically because you know, this is all too loud and I'm tripping, but how the numbers and the disconnect between how much they have to pay and how much they should make grows exponentially, the income disparity, and the wealth disparity grows exponentially, and she's able to stop that she only in herself benefits $3.60 cents, but the next 10,000 lifeguards don't have to get screwed over like that. So that's another 36 grand that person doesn't have. It's just you know, in that one case, and if we're able to set these precedents and not allow people to do these technically illegal or maybe even technically legal, but shady and involving a lot of jumping through hoops bringing these things to light, they will be able to get done. If you want to find some things that make you feel better about all of this stuff. You can check out wagejustice.org they have a whole section on success stories. I'm gonna bring out a couple of them, but First I'm going to go to our next song we've got another song about wages. This one is WAGES, Wages by James Ray of Denver Colorado. In Colorado they have had extensive issues with Bates justice. There are a number of organizations I believe an LLP I'm not even the National Employment Law Project has been publishing a lot of articles and doing a lot of work about getting folks some knowledge about what they can do and their rights and some ideas about what has been done. So again, this is WAGES by James Ray.Song :
Wait, wait. We all got to eat somehow gotta wait. We all got to eat somehow got it all over for ages. Don't get back in these cages. It's time we get on the same pages. To increase these weights we all got to eat somehow got to eat we all got to eat somehow. got to eat so you're holding on pushing harder trying to get to that higher place I used to have doubts about when I went to when the doubts and starting fresh again I got a couple bucks for need a bigger check later. I know I've been pulling for the town playing on my part so I can help the whole town begin to get made more consistently we know what's missing. So let's add it on more than one occasion. I know we got a lot of people working in the talent is amazing. saturated with millions trying to make it there's only a few that we're trying to work as hard as I been to get apart from myself and get apart from the folks that took part in my when it's really hard because we don't lose it all over for ages. Don't get time we get on the same page and work to increase these Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We all gotta eat somehow gotta eat so Wait, wait, we all gotta eat somehow gotta eat somewhere to work I don't live for days to quit the game is super short and so I try to stay close it's called pain and I'm all about the game so anything that ain't helpful I keep my brain done with situations that make me financially stable so I'm able to provide for my family. I used to move a certain way but then understandably so it wasn't right so yeah change. Every so often my life can use a wash and rinse so the fire and the fire inside of me and I use them at least two or three times in the day to be separate more in front of me to see someone who does cleaned it up and found the lane that fits me and got the skills to get away from the people. The stuff that keeps me home, not the stuff that splits me thanks to everyone that shows me love as well as the Don't get back in these cases, time we get on the same page and work to increase these. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We all gotta eat somehow gotta eat. Wait, wait, we all got to eat somehow we all got to eat somehow we all got to eat somehow. We all got to eat somehow. We all gotta eat somehow. Don't get back in time we get on the same page and work to increase these. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We all got a heat somehow got it We all gotta eat somehow. Wait, wait, wait. We all gotta eat somehow gotta eat somehow.Dyalekt :
And the stuff that's been going on to tell you about some of these good old success stories is you know, here's one about wage theft being a family business. The wage Justice Center represented five garment workers in a joint lawsuit to collect approximately $100 grand in unpaid wages that the California Labor Commission had ordered to be paid. If you don't know about California and their labor situation. So LA is been called the capital of wage theft. And California considering they have so many different types of industries that rely on independent contractors like I was talking about, and a lot Independent foreign born workers that oftentimes are undocumented. They're kind of the epicenter, so they're trying to get 100 grand that the California Labor Commission had ordered to be paid. These workers have received a piece rate that Wow, it amounted to $3 and 65 cents per hour way below the minimum wage. So after three months after the wage theft judgments were entered into the court, the married couple who owned the garment factory transferred over a million assets, a million dollars in assets to their college aged son. The owners transferred these assets in exchange for no money. So the wage theft Justice Center took the case over a couple of years after the court ordered judgment for wage them. The initial research found the owners had no personal assets, because they given a million dollars to their son, so they had to continue digging until they discovered the transfer and then they were able to file a fraudulent transfer lawsuit. So about this one success story. It's not even that they had to sued to get their money back is that they had to sue to get their money back. And then they had to find a way and spend more money because all these investigations and all the searches that you see lawyers do you know, I was talking about they charge $200 $300 an hour and I understand it. I've seen the work that lawyers do it's a lot of work, but they had to find more time to do more research and then do another lawsuit and entirely separate other lawsuits so that they can find out that these guys were doing a different crime to hide their one crime of stealing wages. funny cuz I feel like when people talk about how drugs should be criminalized, selling drugs, taking drugs and things like that, or stealing or other crimes that are considered non violent, is because they tie to other crimes, they lead to other crimes, they're a part of other crimes. And I'm not here to argue that because there are a lot of cases that is correct, what sounds like this other situation right here wage that is also Tied to connected to and leads to other crimes. Again, another parallel for why this stuff really needs to be criminalized and something needs to be done about it. Here's a Oh, here's a really good one. So a bankruptcy trial victory advances workers rights. One of the bigger problems that we've seen when I've been looking through and doing this research about all of these is that when you reach out to your smaller folks, the ones who are like they're making a couple hundred grand a year, it's not like a big, huge company. They're never going to go public. They've only got like five or 10 employees, and they start stealing wages and they start doing the company dirty. A lot of times it's because the company's not doing well anyway, and then they decide to file for bankruptcy, Close up shop. It's over. We don't got to worry about it. Right. So in 2013, a cat named Louis was hired to undertake various tax at several jobs for a California contractor. At the time the contractors primary source of income was from one company for multiple renovation projects. Within two months, Lewis wasn't in paid in full for his full work. He went almost a month without any pay at all was strung along by the contractor. That sounds familiar. His complaints to the contractor were met with claims that the real estate company wasn't paying him. The contractor promised to pay Louis as soon as he himself was paid, although I'm not getting paid, so you can't get paid so I get paid. So like many employees Luis believed the contractor and continued working and so almost after five months, he couldn't take it anymore. He filed a wage complaint with the California Labor Commissioner. And the contractor said, Yeah, Louis is owed the wages, but sought to avoid paying them by going into bankruptcy. So just like a lot of business owners to contractor too will go into bankruptcy, rather than be able to pay the wages. But here, the wage justice group argued that the wage claim resulted from fraud. The contractor hired Louis without the ability or intention to pay him. At trial we proved that the contractor actually had been paid in full by the real estate company at large Lewis to keep him working. So two things at play here. One, the contract, just straight up contractor just straight up lied about getting the money. And also the idea that if they didn't have the money, they probably shouldn't have hired somebody. This is another aspect that is it's so frustrating that this is something that had to be proved, because what wasn't disputed, was that their unpaid wages, that should have been enough. I feel like when you look at criminal trials, and please lawyers, let me know if this isn't the case. But it's enough to know that there is something that has been stolen. But in this case, it's not simply enough to know that wages were unpaid. But no, we had to find out that actually, they'd lied about the reason for the wages to be unpaid. And in the first place, how you gonna hire somebody without having money or having a plan to get money to pay somebody. 20 I think a lot about how it's true that When we're applying for loans, there are a lot of unfair practices and a lot of unfair questions that are asked. But the fundamental idea behind getting a loan and having some sort of debt to income ratio that's positive, having some sort of credit score that makes sense, is about responsibility. They're saying we're gonna enter into a business relationship. And mind you, I've spoken to a number of bankers who constantly will lecture the people they work with, because we're entering the business relationship. We're adults here, we're all working together. So if you can't hold up your end of the bargain, and we can't rock with you, why is it not the same for employer? I think that we have a lot of great things that people are doing right now. Between ways justice.org wage theft is a crime and I'll NELP I'm gonna get your name, right one of these days, and a lot of activists and a lot of workers out there. We're organizing, mobilizing and getting it out there that people are paying. And if folks aren't paying, we need to start going away and figure it out. Who will pay us don't have the policy stuff to figure out how we can lobby. I guess that's another thing is the money to lobby to get these things criminalized. And I understand why it's not people's first priority because criminalization of everything has been a mess for everybody. And probably even when we do, or when this is entered into law is a criminal offense, it's going to disproportionately affect black and Latino people, immigrants and poor people anyway, because that's our carceral system tends to work. But as it is, we don't have a lot of options except togetherness and having each other's back. If you know wage theft is happening in your area, speak to people about it, share with it, if you are approached by anyone who is involved in a civil case, please be willing to share and speak on it even at the risk of your own jobs. Because if these jobs aren't paying your peers, they're not going to pay you and they're not going to be worth it. We're going to leave you off with this last song. I figured we'd go out to British Columbia for a dope MC Mr. Wa with a song from the album, Legal Thievery. It's called thrift shop. And that's what these folks often feel like when they're looking through us and deciding, well, I'm gonna take you for your labor, but at a discount. And remember that don't let anybody take you at a discount for the work that you do. You are not your work, and your self worth is not your net worth. Remember, you must always be paid for your effort get equal recompense for the things that you do. You are limitless and wonderful and beautiful, but your work is worth money, ask for it. And that's going to be all we have for us today on this truncated version of budget budget, and thank you and we'll check you next time. Peace.Song :
Walk around like what am I got this like flip flops got the new shoes they cost me mixer bought a broken mixer family on Craigslist underneath Mr. Wall drunk jobs when you look at the industry is a scam man. What are your thoughts And then he's the postman jumpstart. Know this I'm going through a Bonaparte wonderful shopping cart so no frills get down here Tim. The price tag man I really want to run truth of the matter is you bought a brand new stainless have the clothes That would have been a brand name off the top.