The New York State Laborers' Union represents over 40,000 members employed in the construction industry and other fields throughout the state.
Our members are organized into more than 36 local unions and 5 district councils. We are a proud affiliate of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA).
On Tuesday, The New York Times published a letter from Local 79 Business Manager Mike Prohaska about wage theft. The letter was written in response to a front-page article that detailed efforts to bring an end to wage theft throughout the country.
Here is the letter: “More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft’ ” (front page, Sept. 1) brings needed attention to the issue of employers’ violation of overtime and minimum-wage laws and other forms of wage theft. The view put forth by the leader of a business group that this is merely a “special interest campaign by labor unions” couldn’t be further from the truth. This is an issue that has united faith groups, community organizations, employers and, yes, labor unions, all of whom believe that stealing workers’ wages is immoral and creates unfair competition for employers who abide by wage laws.
In 2010, New York State took a leadership role by passing the Wage Theft Prevention Act, the strongest law on the books of any state. That same year, the National Employment Law Project found that nearly $1 billion was stolen from low-wage workers every year in New York City alone.
We laud steps taken by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York State Department of Labor to recover stolen wages. However, New York State has not dedicated the resources necessary to truly address this serious problem. We urge the New York State Legislature to increase funding for the Department of Labor to bring an end to the scourge that is wage theft.
MIKE PROHASKA New York, Sept. 2, 2014”