Wage theft victims call for new city ordinance, similar to Houston’s

KDBC
Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 11:53pm

Dozens of labor activists, low- wage workers and public officials rallied Sunday at a downtown café to call attention to wage theft allegations.

One in five low-wage workers in El Paso makes less than minimum wage - $7.25 per hour in Texas – and more than two-thirds do not receive overtime pay, according to a study co-authored by the Labor Justice Committee.

Jed Untereker, an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project pushing for labor reform, told NewsChannel 9 the El Pasoans most affected by wage theft work in construction, nursing and the restaurant industry.

“This is about raising their quality of life and making it possible for them to survive,” said Untereker.

“When low-wage workers aren’t making what they’re supposed to be making, that sometimes affects [their] ability to provide shelter for their family.”

Untereker is working with a local group, the Lift Up El Paso Alliance, to propose a wage theft ordinance to City Council that prohibits known wage law violators from doing business with the City.

A similar bill was passed unanimously by the Houston City Council in November 2013.

El Paso labor activists plan to present their proposal to the City within the next month.
 

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