Lisa Chow is the economics reporter at WNYC. She tries to explore in her stories surprising aspects of New York’s many economies—in plain view or hidden, in neighborhoods or sectors.
Recession Has Employers Violating Minimum Wage Laws
Friday, September 04, 2009
New York, NY —
The State Department of Labor says since the recession began, New York employers are increasingly violating minimum wage laws to cut costs and economize. This confirms the findings of a new report, which surveyed more than 4,000 low-wage workers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. It found that more than two thirds of these workers were paid less than what they were legally owed for the work they did in the previous week. Terri Gerstein is deputy commissioner of labor for wage and immigrant services.
GERSTEIN: There's no doubt that we're in a situation where it's a challenge. There are a lot of violations. But we've been trying these new methods. And I also think there's some time lag between when you get tough and when you see the effects of it.
Gerstein says the state is working more closely with community based organizations, to reach at-risk workers, that half of its investigative field staff is bilingual, and that it's started a "revisit program," where investigators check up on employers, who were previously in violation.