Houston Could Become First Texas City To Punish Wage Theft

Last week, lobbyists made a last-ditch effort to change Houston's proposed ordinance on wage theft by asking for a final meeting with Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Negotiations resulted in minor changes to the proposal that don't substantially affect how the city will deal with wage theft violators.

Laura Perez-Boston is executive director of the Fe y Justicia Worker Center in Houston, the group largely responsible for  bringing this issue to the city council.

"It does not pose a threat to any responsible business. It only creates consequences for those that are knowingly and willingly stealing wages from workers. And I think we've seen multiple responsible businesses come out to speak in favor of this because it also protects their interests being able to compete on a level playing field."

Perez-Boston says data from the Department of Labor shows an estimated $753 million is stolen from employees annually in the Houston area.

The city ordinance will create a database of companies convicted of wage theft and prohibit the city from doing business with them for five years.

City Councilmembers will vote on the ordinance tomorrow.


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