Houston Could Become First Texas City To Punish Wage Theft
by: Laurie Johnson, November 19, 2013 3:11:00 pm
Last week, lobbyists made a last-ditch effort to change Houston's proposed ordinance on wage theft by asking for a final meeting with Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Negotiations resulted in minor changes to the proposal that don't substantially affect how the city will deal with wage theft violators.
Laura Perez-Boston is executive director of the Fe y Justicia Worker Center in Houston, the group largely responsible for bringing this issue to the city council.
"It does not pose a threat to any responsible business. It only creates consequences for those that are knowingly and willingly stealing wages from workers. And I think we've seen multiple responsible businesses come out to speak in favor of this because it also protects their interests being able to compete on a level playing field."
Perez-Boston says data from the Department of Labor shows an estimated $753 million is stolen from employees annually in the Houston area.
The city ordinance will create a database of companies convicted of wage theft and prohibit the city from doing business with them for five years.
City Councilmembers will vote on the ordinance tomorrow.