So someone came to me today complaining that their company was messing with them.
The employee was earning above minimum wage after several years in their line of work
And now their company wants to cut their salary claiming tight budgets.
But get this:
- Instead of speaking with the employee, they send the employee a text message telling them they are going to cut their salary, and when the employee tries to call them, they don't even pick up the phone or call back.
- The company decides unilaterally that they will cut the employee salary by $1.50 an hour or a whopping 12.5% to this person!
- And this company is going to actually pay the employee below minimum wage!
Apparently, this company hires a lot of immigrants who don't know the law and are only here for a short time, so this company disgustingly "gets away with it!"
But this employee is an American citizen and he is rightfully furious--as we all should be.
So Montgomery County, Maryland--a very liberal county--just raised the minimum wage to $11.50 effective July 1.
Do you know what that comes out to at 40 hours per week--less than $24,000 annually.
That's less than the poverty level for a typical family of four.
Imagine what this person has left after taxes and carfare to get to work--not much!
I have gotten to know this person and they are a good, decent, hardworking human being, and they have suffered in their lifetime--why do they need to be treated like this and forced to earn even LESS THAN minimum wage.
They are worried that if they say anything then they will be even worse off--they don't want to be seen as trouble.
How many times does this or a similar situation happen to innocent workers where they are mistreated, taken advantage of, abused, harassed, or even worse--but because they need the job and the money they are afraid to say or do anything to protect themselves.
We are the United States of America--one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth--is this how we treat our citizens?
People deserve to work and earn a decent days pay for a honest days work--a genuine living wage!
They also deserve core worker benefits like health care and a decent retirement.
And they should be able to do their work free from workplace harassment and abuse.
There must be not only fundamental laws that protect people, but also the enforcement mechanisms to make it really work.
This gets to the heart of America--do we still have one?
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)