News Release

American Workers Cheated

A team of national labor market experts has released a groundbreaking study of the low-wage workforce in the nation’s three largest cities, finding that core employment laws — like the minimum wage and overtime pay — are being aggressively and systematically violated in some of the economy’s fastest-growing industries. The report can be viewed here.

Bernhardt is policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project. She said today: “These problems are not limited to underground employers or a single group of vulnerable workers — rather, these violations are occurring at large and small businesses alike, in industries that are at the very core of urban U.S. economies. In fact, we found that it’s where you work, not who you are, that is the main determinant of these violations of employment laws.”

Milkman is a professor of sociology at UCLA. She said today: “Systematic business strategies are in play when you see violations of this magnitude, which involve explicit decisions made by employers. Not all employers violate the law — we found a range of workplaces where abuses were relatively rare, where workers were also offered health insurance, paid vacation and sick days, and regular raises. But given that 8 of the 10 occupations projected to grow the most in the next decade are low-wage jobs – and that the recession is only compounding these trends — there is an urgent need to address these issues.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167