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Expand Coordination and Funding by Enforcement Agencies

Wage Law Enforcement State Trend: Illinois Becomes Most Recent State to Crack Down on Wage Theft

A crime wave has been sweeping Illinois, with surveys of low-wage workers in the Chicago area showing an average of 146,300 cases of wage theft each week -- resulting in about $7.3 million each week in unpaid wages, or $380 million stolen from workers each year.  In order to crack down on this criminal wage theft, the Illinois General Assembly on May 3 nearly unanimously (56-0 in the Senate and 112-1 in the House) passed SB 3568, which will strengthen the state’s ability to enforce violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Promoting Wage Law Enforcement Policies in 2010

Progressive States Network will be working with state leaders around the country to promote policies to improve enforcement of minimum wage, overtime and related wage laws in the states.  This Dispatch will highlight the chronic wage violations in the workplace, model wage law enforcement language for states to promote, messaging to support those campaigns, and specific ways such an approach has the added benefit of undercutting anti-immigrant attacks in the states.

Overview

Whatever the penalties and the law, one key to enforcement is making sure agencies are well-funded and creatively coordinate their work for maximum effectiveness.  Instead of promoting a narrow tactic like sanctions against employers of undocumented workers, which only drives the problem of low-wage employment underground, New York State has created a new Bureau of Immigrant Workers' Rights.  This new agency has already moved forward in cracking down on low-wage law violators - sending a van out to churches and community groups to encourage immigrant workers to come forward to report wage law violations - teaching an important lesson that outreach, not pushing immigrants into the shadows, is the key to raising wage standards for all.

Immigration Raids vs. Enforcing Labor Rights - Iowa seeks alternatives to broken families and communities

The federal government is fixated on raiding workplaces in search of immigrant workers, but they have practically abandoned punishing irresponsible employers violating wage, workplace safety and child labor laws.  Demonstrating a remarkable commitment to punishing the victims, they've left it up to states to take action against the more pervasive problem of sweatshop labor conditions.

New PSN Report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed

Today, the Progressive States Network is releasing a new report: The Anti-Immigrant Movement that Failed: Positive Integration Policies by States Still Far Outweigh Punitive Policies Aimed at New Immigrants.   The Executive Summary is available online, as well as the full report in PDF and HTML format.

State Immigration Project: Policy Options for 2009

Download a copy of the reports in PDF format here.  View the HTML version of the report here.