The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has dedicated itself to representing workers who are victims of this crime. A crime that not only affects the workers, but also affects honest companies and their ability to compete in their market.
These crimes have a measurably negative effect on the means for signatory employers to win projects and jobs for IUPAT members and other union workers. They simply cannot compete with the price points achieved by dishonest and exploitive employers. As a result, markets that were once considered strong “union markets,” are now falling to non-union contractors.
The IUPAT and the labor movement can’t do it alone, however. The government needs to be a partner in fighting this crime. Fortunately, some Democratic senators agree and have taken an important first step to do something about it.
On Wednesday, March 16, Senators Patty Murray (Washington) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) introduced legislation that will make the penalties for wage theft far more severe:
The Wage Theft Prevention and Recovery Act
- Employers are liable for full, agreed upon wage (currently they are only liable for minimum wage).
- Damages and civil penalties will increase, especially for repeat offenders.
- Bill would also mandate employers provide workers with regular paystubs, which is currently not required under federal law.