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Grand Rapids City Commission likely to vote on Wage Theft tomorrow night – updated

November 12, 2012

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 13), the Grand Rapids City Commission is expected to vote on the issue of adopting a wage theft ordinance for Grand Rapids.

Wage Theft is a serious problem in the US, where workers are not regularly paid for the amount of hours they actually put in.

According to the Interfaith Worker Justice Center, “Wage Theft is the illegal underpayment or non-payment of workers’ wages. It affects millions of workers each year, often forcing them to choose between paying the rent or putting food on the table.

Because of the growing awareness around Wage Theft, some communities have begun campaigns to both educate the public and get municipal governments to pass a Wage Theft ordinance. You can see which states and cities have adopted or are working to adopt such an ordinance across the country.

We asked Wage Theft organizer Jordan Bruxvoort a few questions about the campaign.

1) If adopted, what will a wage theft ordinance do for working people
in Grand Rapids? If adopted, our wage theft proposal will create a means by which businesses that have contracts with the city and commit wage theft will face meaningful penalties (such as not being paid by the City until all workers who were victims of wage theft by that company are fully compensated and then being suspended from applying for City contracts for two years).  It will also help ensure that City contracts go to businesses that have a clean record on wage theft (City contracts will stipulate that businesses certify that they have not engaged in for the last two years).

2) How will the City enforce the wage theft policy? The Micah Center will be in conversation with the Michigan wage and hour division and the federal wage and hour division to report back to the City the findings of these agencies regarding local companies that have City contracts to the City’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion who will then take the specified actions against offending businesses (withholding payment and/or suspending businesses from applying for contracts). 

The group behind the Wage Theft campaign in Grand Rapids has a Facebook event page encouraging people to come to the City Commission meeting and show “collective strength.”

City Commission Vote on Wage Theft

Tuesday, November 13

7:00PM

City Hall – 300 Monroe Ave – 9th Floor

For anyone who wants more information on the Grand Rapids Wage Theft Campaign and how they can get involved they should contact Jordan Bruxvoort, Associate Director of the Micah Center at: jordan.bruxvoort@gmail.com.

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