A Pay Day From Perry

Perry signs law targeting wage theft

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (Photo by John Anderson)

On May 27, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a measure that aims to curb theft-of-service crimes involving an employer's failure to pay wages owed to employees. Senate Bill 1024, by Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, and carried by Austin Dem Rep. Eddie Rodriguez in the House, makes it easier to target employers who fail to provide even partial payment to workers. Nonpayment of wages is a problem in Texas. According to a 2009 report from the Workers Defense Project, 20% of Austin construction workers have reported not being paid for their work, while 50% reported that they were not paid earned overtime wages. The bill closes a legal loophole that allowed employers to skirt enforcement if they'd paid just a portion of wages owed and makes it easier for police to arrest employers who fail to pay wages, according to a press release from the WDP. The WDP worked with lawmakers to get the bill passed; since 2002, the group has helped workers recover more than $700,000 in wages owed for work. "The Wage Theft Bill is an important victory for Texas workers, especially in this legislative session where workers' rights have been under attack," Rodríguez said. "This new law will ensure that thousands of hardworking Texans receive their fair pay."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

wage theft, Legislature, Wage Theft Bill, José Rodríguez, Jose Rodriguez, Eddie Rodriguez, Workers Defense Project, Rick Perry

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