It is frightening to imagine showing up for work shift after shift, for a paycheck that may or may not materialize days or weeks after it is promised.
How difficult it must be to repeat that promise to a daycare provider while dropping off a child on the way to work. Imagine yourself standing at the grocery store check-out line running math in your head praying the total will match the money in your wallet or rationing a tank of gas to get to work. That’s what it’s like to stretch a family budget without knowing if or when payday will arrive.
Wage theft is real in the land of nice.
And estimated 40 thousand Minnesota workers each year fall victim to theft that robs workers and families of their dignity. It was one of the 2019 legislative priorities outlined Monday night in Cloquet, MN during a listening session sponsored by the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the Northeast Area Labor Council.
According to Brad Lehto of the AFL-CIO the following priorities are critical in providing dignity, justice and freedom for working Minnesotans.
Paid Family & Medical Leave
End Wage Theft
40 Hour Workweek
Thanks to my Minnesota State Representative Mike Sundin and a push by DFL lawmakers the Minnesota Wage Theft Law took effect on July 1, 2019.
Workers now have a legal right to be paid what they’ve earned and on a regular basis. All workers are protected by and employers are subject to this law, no exceptions.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has new powers to enforce civil wage theft violations, the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, and Prevailing Wage Act.
The Attorney General has authority to enforce violations and will have additional investigators to ensure this new law is enforced.
Unfortunately some of the priorities on the list were not met, including the 40 hour work week.
Did you know that Minnesota is the only state with a 48-hour work week? As some of us learned during the listening session people who work for any employer that does business entirely in the state of Minnesota are not eligible for overtime until after 48 hours of work.
As one attendee exclaimed, “that’s one more day of work!”
And now it appears it will take one more legislative session to bring Minnesota’s work week in line with the rest of the country and complete the AFL-CIO's list of priorities it believes will provide dignity, justice and freedom for working Minnesotans.