Streams

Report Finds Low Wage Workers Stiffed

Friday, September 04, 2009

A new report on low wage workers in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles found more than two thirds of those interviewed were paid less than what they were legally owed for the work they did the previous week. WNYC's Lisa Chow reports.

REPORTER: The researchers surveyed more than 4,000 low-wage workers across the three cities, and here's what they found: Being an American citizen with a college degree in this sector of the labor market did not mean you'd escape wage violations. They found 10 percent of this group were paid less than minimum wage the previous work week. Ruth Milkman is co-author of the report and a professor at UCLA.

MILKMAN: So we weren't surprised to discover these phenomena. We knew they were there. What we didn't know until now was just how prevalent they were.

REPORTER: One quarter of all workers surveyed were paid less than minimum wage. But, the type of person most at risk: foreign born, undocumented women workers. The type of job most likely to violate minimum wage laws. Child care work. And the type of employer most likely to pay less than minimum wage: a small company, a company that pays its workers in cash, and a textile manufacturer. For WNYC, I'm Lisa Chow.

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