May 17, 2012
[Video clip in Chinese]
In a survey conducted last year, the Chinese Progressive Association learned that one in two San Francisco Chinatown restaurant workers are paid less than the City’s minimum wage. Some supervisors are suggesting the creation of a Wage Theft Task Force to address wage theft.
Since San Francisco imposed its own minimum wage in 2004, the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has helped some 2,800 workers get back about $4.8 million in lost wages owed to them. The Chinese Progressive Association also found out that there are many workers who have not been given vacation and sick pay.
The Public Safety Committee of the Board of Supervisors held a hearing today about the issue of wage theft. Some members of the public say that there are workers who do not complain about their bosses for fear of losing their jobs. The Chinese Progressive Association also says that the problem is not limited to Chinatown. There are also instances where workers are not paid overtime and bosses take the tips of restaurant workers.
The legislation to create the Wage Theft Task Force has bee passed unanimously by the committee and will be put to a full vote by the Board of Supervisors on June 5. If passed, the legislation will create a task force consisting of 15 representatives from the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, the City Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the SF Police Department and members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. This task force will recommend legislations to address wage theft.
Members of the public who believe that they are victims of wage theft should call the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, or approach community organizations like the Chinese Progressive Association and the Asian Law Caucus.