Southwest Journal publishes “Shortchanged: An in-depth look at wage theft”

Southwest Journal, a community newspaper based in Southwest Minneapolis, recently published a special report series detailing the effects of wage theft on workers in Minnesota. Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), a local nonprofit that advocates on behalf of Hispanic workers’ rights, is quoted in some of the content.

Highlights from How to ensure fair pay on household projects include:

The U.S. Department of Labor found more than 5,500 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by employers in Minneapolis between 2005 and 2014, according to Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL, The Center of Workers United in Struggle).

“We have wage and hour laws being broken with impunity,” said CTUL Organizer Terin Mayer. “A lot of homeowners don’t even know this.”

Mayer said it’s common for bonded and licensed general contractors to turn over work to subcontractors, who may in turn also hire subcontractors.

“The amount of money starts diminishing, and the amount of risk and responsibility gets pushed down to the workers at the bottom of the chain,” he said.

Attorney Justin Cummins, who handles wage theft cases, recommends asking general contractors pointed questions: Are workers on the job classified as employees or independent contractors?

“If they are independent contractors, you can virtually guarantee there is going to be a problem,” he said.

Read more about wage theft and its effects in the Twin Cities: