Latinos and Immigrant Workers Face Higher Wage Violation Rates than U.S. Born
WASHINGTON, DC – A comprehensive study surveyed workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to look at wage-law violations. The study provides the most thorough examination of wage-law violations in a decade.
The report’s findings highlight that Latino workers have the highest rates of minimum and overtime wage-law violations of any racial/ethnic group. The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) denounces these gross labor law violations and calls on the Department of Labor (DOL) to strengthen the enforcement of federal labor standards.
The study surveyed 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries and found that the workers experienced a 15 percent loss in pay. It also found that gender, nativity, race and ethnicity play a significant role in determining which groups of workers are at a higher risk of a violation.
Immigrant Latino workers faced the highest minimum wage violation rates at 35.1 percent in comparison to 10.1 percent of their White counterparts. 40 percent of Latina workers were victims of minimum wage violations in comparison to 24 percent of Latino men. The highest incidence of these violations occurred among undocumented workers (37.6 percent) compared to 25.7 percent of documented workers.
This reality is not unique to New York (27%), Chicago (26%) and Los Angeles (47%), cities with a high percentage of Latinos. Wage-law violations are ubiquitous and they highlight the importance of strengthening the enforcement of federal labor standards as well as workers’ ability to form unions and bargain collectively.
“Unions have the ability to reinstate a healthy balance and fairness to the workplace. The passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is central to restoring policies that will improve the living conditions of working families,” stated Milton Rosado, National President.
“Working families are struggling and a loss a loss of 15 percent of pay is an unacceptable theft. Although this study underscores wage violations in low-wage industries, federal labor standards must be vigorously enforced to protect workers in all industries and prevent the exploitation of particularly vulnerable ones, as are the immigrant workers,” stated Jason M. Leon, Executive Director.
With an overtime violation rate of 80 percent among the workers surveyed, the findings illustrate that immigrants, documented and undocumented alike, are much more prone to wage violations.
“These disparities highlight the imperative to move swiftly with immigration reform that guarantees labor rights for all workers,” stated Hector E. Sanchez, Director of Policy and Research.