According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, full-time employed women in America earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by male workers. A lot of that has to do with the fact that women are more represented in lower-paying jobs than men are.
Laura Perez-Boston with the Fe y Justicia Worker Center says that leaves women especially vulnerable to wage theft.
“We see a higher concentration of women in some of the lower waged industries, so we look at restaurant workers, servers, nail salon workers, who are making a tip minimum wage, that’s $2.13, and so, you know, obviously their wages have to make up the difference up to the $7.25 per hour. But many times, employers aren’t paying that difference.”
A 2009 study by the Ford, Joyce, Haynes and Russell Sage foundations found that about one in four low-wage workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
To ensure that fair wages are paid in the city of Houston, working mothers with three different community organizations are asking City Council to pass an ordinance prohibiting the city from awarding permits, licenses or contracts to companies with a documented history of wage theft. Again, Laura Perez-Boston:
“We think this is a very basic request, it’s a very baseline protection in our city, and our tax dollars shouldn’t be going to basically endorse these companies and allow them to continue operating.”
To drive home their point, the groups handed out flowers and Mother’s Day cards explaining their cause to the mayor and female council members.