Strengthening Wage Theft...

If You Steal From Your Workers, You Shouldn’t be in Business

AdamBy: Adam Obernauer
Political Organizer, UFCW Local 1500

Retail is the United States’ fastest-growing industry, but the majority of retail jobs come with low-wages, a lack of respect, and no benefits. Even worse, a large majority of businesses are getting away with stealing money from their workers.

In 2010, the New York State Legislature passed the historic Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) which was aimed to level the playing field for businesses that have been paying fair wages and treating their workers with dignity and respect.  Why should good unionized businesses who operate within the law have to compete with companies that are stealing their workers’ wages?

The passage of the Wage Theft Prevention Act came with a mandatory annual notice that tells employees their hourly and overtime rate of pay.  This notice must be in the employees first language and signed and returned to their employer.  Despite this being a simple task that educates workers on how much they are supposed to be paid, big business has called this “onerous” paperwork that is labor intensive and a costly expense.  New York Senate Republicans are prioritizing the elimination of this annual notice, this is the first step at attacking the Wage Theft Prevention Act in its entirety.
We cannot and will not allow the Senate, along with funding from Corporate America, to dilute a law that is very simple: if you steal from your workers, you shouldn’t be in business.  

On May 13, 2014, our union will gather in Albany to make sure legislators strengthen the Wage Theft Prevention Act, and make it harder, not easier, for businesses to take away the hard earned pay of their employees.  At the same time businesses are stealing from workers, owners are making more money, getting higher bonuses, and increasing the gap between the wealthy and the poor.  Join us on May 13th in Albany and we will make our voices are loud and clear!  RSVP here.


Adam Obernauer is the Political Organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500.  Contact him at and follow Adam on twitter @eastofadamo