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Published By:Center for Popular Democracy

Press Release New Report Reveals Unscrupulous Employers Involved With Wage Theft in New York

New York workers face wage theft violations despite strong laws

Today, Center for Popular Democracy Action releases the first major report on New York wage theft since 2009. The report, By a Thousand Cuts: The Complex Face of Wage Theft in New York, identifies 11 ‘bad actors’, which are employers with a history of wage theft that is either particularly egregious or that exemplifies a broader trend in key New York sectors.

The companies highlighted in the report have a history of committing various wage theft violations, such as denying benefits, failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, making illegal deductions from pay checks, telling workers to work off the clock, and misclassifying workers as freelancers or independent contractors to avoid paying benefits.

 Despite passage of the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2010, which gives New York the strongest laws in the nation, an estimated 2.1 million New Yorkers are still victims of wage theft annually, cheated out of a cumulative $3.2 billion in wages and benefits they are owed. The report contains never-before-released testimonies from impacted workers.

Protesters from The New York Coalition against Wage Theft gathered at 11 a.m. in front of a worksite run by asbestos removal company New York Insulation Inc., one of the bad actors identified in the report.

 “New Yorkers are being cheated out of their hard earned wages, and it has to stop now,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “The bottom line is that an honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay –and if a company cheats workers out of their wages, we will catch them and they will pay. I commend Make the Road New York and the Center for Popular Democracy for issuing this new report and continuing the fight against wage theft.”

 “Despite good laws on the books, wage theft continues at epidemic proportions impacting millions of workers each year. It is, in effect, a massive crime wave that costs New Yorkers billions and exacerbates poverty and inequity in our state,” says Meg Fosque, low-wage organizing director at Make the Road.

 “Wage theft is a pervasive crime, rather than the practice of a few unscrupulous employers. And, companies build business strategies on the bet that they will never be called to account for stealing their employees’ wages and undercutting high-road businesses. We need robust and resourced enforcement efforts to protect workers’livelihoods and the ability of fair employers to do business,” says Connie Razza, Director of Strategic Research at the Center for Popular Democracy.

 "The depth and breadth of the wage theft problem is crippling our economy. The construction industry, tax payers, and workers all equally feel the pain of wage theft. This is not a victimless crime. When responsible contractors operating within the laws of New York State are put at a disadvantage against those ignoring these same laws, we must all unite to fix this problem," says Patrick J. Purcell, Executive Director with Greater New York LECET


The Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda.