Monday, February 15, 2010

I don't really agree with this- labor event

I was a little bit snarky when I got the announcement about a gathering in Shaw regarding worker's rights. The PDF, which I'm not attaching, mainly because my Firefox don't like PDFs, says:
Workers' Rights Board Hearing
Wage Theft
DC's Hidden Crime
Every day hard working people in DC are denied their fair wages. Workers are:
+ Classified as contractors
+ Denied overtime
+Paid below minimum wage, paid less than agreed, paid with bad checks, and sometimes paid not at all.
Thursday February 18th
6:30-9PM
First Rising Mt. Zion Church
602 N St, NW
Mt. Vernon Sq metro'
Join academic, faith and political leaders in examining this hidden crime wave....

No problem with addressing criminality in contract law and tax evasion (classification of workers as contractors), however I did have a problem with a blurb on the email:
Every day working people in our city have their hard-earned wages skimmed or outright stolen from them. Employers withhold tips, force people to work off the clock, pay less than the minimum or prevailing wage, pay less than promised, and sometimes run off without paying at all.
For poor and working people who already struggle to make ends meet, even a small theft of wages can be disastrous for their families. Cumulatively, employers steal billions of dollars from millions of workers - money that is lost to families and communities, exacerbating the current economic crisis.
To me this insinuates that most employers are criminals, which is a line of thinking I find very disagreeable. Also with the mention of "millions" and considering that the population of the District hovering somewhere around just half that, this doesn't hint at a local discussion, but rather a general anti-capitalist gathering. I also note a lack of mentioning resources for victims of these offenses (if it is so widespread and everything). Instead of being snarky, I'm just stating what I am okay with and where I strongly disagree.

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2 Comments:

At 2/15/2010 7:57 PM, Blogger Emil said...

Its too common for people to always blame the big guy/the man/the employer. People generalize TOO MUCH and and up stereotyping business owners as being rich and to blame for the worlds problems. In reality, most businesses help our society and are made up of hard working entrepreneurs. A small minority may exploit workers, but most help them.

 
At 2/16/2010 10:28 AM, Anonymous Mackenzie Baris said...

As one of the event organizers, I just want to clarify that we are not saying that all employers are criminals, but are trying to raise awareness about the fact that some do violate our wage and hour laws - and usually get away with it.

Our organization, DC Jobs with Justice, as well as the DC Employment Justice Center, deal with these cases every day and try to provide support to victims in recovering wages. The intention of the forum is to educate more community members about the issue so workers know what to do if it happens to them, and to develop policy proposals for strengthening local enforcement mechanisms at DC's Office of Wage and Hour.

 

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