Corey Robin has an excellent NYTimes op-ed on “The Republican War on Workers’ Rights“. Just one highlight:
… Wage theft refers to the practice among employers of taking money from their employees by illegally paying them less than the minimum wage or not paying them overtime. According to one multicity study, in a single week, nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers had, on average, 15 percent of their pay stolen by their employers.
One of the causes of this epidemic of wage theft — which, according to Mr. Lafer’s E.P.I. report, involves sums “far greater than the combined total stolen in all the bank robberies, gas station robberies, and convenience store robberies in the country” — is lax enforcement of the country’s wage and hour laws. In 1941, there was one federal inspector for every 11,000 workers. As of 2008, there was one for every 141,000 workers. “The average employer has just a 0.001 percent chance of being investigated in a given year,” Mr. Lafer estimates. Because there is so little risk of getting caught, one-third of all employers who have been found guilty of violating wage and hour laws continue to do it.
In 2010, liberal legislators in Miami-Dade County decided to take matters into their own hands. They passed an anti-wage-theft ordinance, resulting in more than 600 prosecutions and $1.7 million recovered in stolen pay in the first year alone. Miami-Dade’s success inspired Broward and Palm Beach Counties to propose similar measures.
In response, Republican legislators in Tallahassee tried to pass a bill that would prohibit any “county, municipality, or political subdivision of the state” from enacting laws, rules, ordinances or regulations “for the purpose of addressing wage theft.” They failed, so they tried again. This time, the bill passed the Florida House, but failed in the Senate.
Where conservatives often style themselves as the champions of local control — Ronald Reagan called for a government with “as much law and decision-making authority as possible kept at the local level” — the Florida example suggests that they have no compunction about sacrificing that principle when it threatens business interests….
My emphases. Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen…