Tough Times

Employers Fail to Pay Up

No group has been harder hit by the recession than immigrants, who are more frequently being cheated out of their salaries by employers. In fields such as construction, food services, and janitorial work, employees are often at the mercy of bosses who run out of money mid-project and fail to pay workers for their time, sometimes disappearing with no warning. In Washington, D.C., agencies such as D.C. Jobs With Justice are working overtime to track down employers and get workers their rightful payment, but the recent upswing in cases has overwhelmed volunteers. In the face of a 20 percent rise in reported stolen wages over the past two years, an organizer for Jobs with Justice said, “The capacity of volunteers and nonprofit staff to be able to follow through on these cases is going to be limited given how big the problem is.”