Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wage Theft In America

This Super Bowl Eve (Saturday 1/31) we're hosting Kim Bobo, founder and director of Interfaith Worker Justice, who will be speaking about and signing her new book, Wage Theft in America. The book addresses a problem that is disconcertingly widespread and sadly under-discussed. Wage theft occurs when a worker doesn’t receive full compensation for work they perform. It happens when Wal-Mart fails to pay employees for working overtime, when a construction worker contracts to help build a house and then never sees his paycheck, when an undocumented worker is paid at a rate below the minimum wage.

Bobo, a nationally-recognized labor rights activist, founded Interfaith Worker Justice in 1991 as a way to heighten the religious community’s involvement in labor campaigns. The organization now has local chapters in seven cities across the country, including one in Phoenix that opened in September of 2008. Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona holds weekly meetings on Thursday nights for workers who feel their rights have been violated, and also schedules individual meetings to address work issues on a case-by-case basis. They work primarily with immigrants whose undocumented status makes them vulnerable to exploitation and wage theft. “The low-wage earning immigrants we tend to work with often live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford to not be paid,” says Cristina Sanidad of IWJAZ. “Basic needs, like food, clothing, medical care, education, and shelter, are harder to meet, and families often have to decide which of these they can live without.”

To find out more about Kim Bobo and Interfaith Worker Justice, visit To learn more about Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona:

- Tessa

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