Workers Need Protections Against "Wage Theft"

Heidi Shierholz (Economic Policy Institute)

Workers have lost their ability to fight wage loss resulting from employers skirting labor laws, with the federal government turning a blind eye. Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute estimates that low-wage workers in the United States suffer $50 billion each year in what is known as “wage theft” by employers violating labor laws. In a presentation at the “Combating Inequality” conference at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on October 17–18, 2019, Shierholz recommends increasing government resources to enforce existing worker protections, including minimum wage and overtime regulations, as well as banning mandatory arbitration in which workers inevitably lose out to employers and expanding unionization.