Wage theft is atrociously common — especially in food service. Being held accountable for it is atrociously rare.
The appalling allegations against Paseo — including 80-hour workweeks without overtime pay, no breaks on 12-hour shifts, and retaliation — underscore why Seattle needs strong enforcement, including substantial community outreach, to make sure that our $15/hour wage law becomes a reality for all workers in Seattle.
Because it can be hard to believe, but in 2014, even $9.32/hour and the 40-hour workweek aren’t actually universal across the state.
This is a huge problem for workers and the whole economy. In fact, a recent study estimated that wage theft costs workers an incredible $50 billion a year — well more than the value of all of the robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts in the nation. Of that, only about $1 billion was recovered by workers, advocates, lawyers, and public agencies.
With the right enforcement policies, we can do better. The news about Paseo today reminds us why we must.