On Thursday, September 19th business industry leaders and working families gathered in front of City Hall to draw a line in the sand, demanding Council Members to publicly declare whether they will stand up to support a desperately needed Anti Wage Theft Ordinance or protect the status quo of impunity for wage thieves.
“My family has been involved fighting for this ordinance because we know what it’s like to struggle when you don’t receive the wages you were counting on,” commented Adalinda Guajardo, member of the Fe y Justicia Worker Center, “and we are convinced the only way to stop this practice is to increase consequences for companies that have a history, a record of stealing workers’ hard-earned pay.”
In the Houston area alone, more than 100 wage and hour violations occur every single week, affecting workers employed in multiple industries. A recent report estimates that more than $753 million in wages are illegally withheld from low-wage workers in the Houston area each year.
The proposed Anti-Wage Theft ordinance has been through two Council Committee Hearings with ample support and presence of responsible business owners and community members. Houston would be the first city in Texas and only the 2nd major city in the U.S. southern states to pass an ordinance addressing wage theft.
“We’ve gone door-to-door talking to thousands of Houstonians collecting over 1,00 handwritten letters with one message: City Council needs to act now and stop allowing a few businesses to take advantage of workers,” commented Durrel Douglas, Texas State Director of Working America. “We’re calling on City Council to listen to the people and not make back room deals with lobbyists and special interest groups.”
If passed, the proposed Anti-Wage Theft ordinance would prohibit the City of Houston from doing business with any company that has a documented record of failing to pay its employees their legally owed wages with an agency or court that enforces wage and hour law.Follow @DownWWageTheft