Workers Lose Each Week To Wage Theft

By Ernesto Arce

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Advocates for low wage workers say that Los Angeles is the wage theft capital of the united states and that without a properly staffed local office, many workers might not have the ability to earn $15 per hour come January, 2022.

According to the UCLA labor study, low wage workers in Los Angeles lose more than $26.2 million dollars each week to wage theft. Last fall, Los Angeles County officials formed a Wage Enforcement Program to ensure wages are paid fairly and in a timely manner. Tia Koonse with the UCLA Labor Center, said a state agency tasked with investigating such alleged crimes has a serious backlog.

“It’s actually unlawful to pay anybody less than minimum wage, and undocumented workers must be paid, and are eligible for every single wage-and-hour right that their documented counterparts are.”

Koonse joined the Los Angeles Coalition Against Wage Theft in calling for a county-wide ordinance with enough funding to go after unscrupulous employers. The new office will begin operating on June 1 to deal with investigations, education, outreach, negotiations, and settlement of non paid wages. Critics of the creation of a county program argued that the state should be responsible for enforcement and that the money could be used for other services. Advocates say wage-theft complaints previously filed with the California Labor Commissioners Office took too long to be investigated and left workers waiting months to receive their back pay.

Bringing Your A-Game With A Bullet In Your Shoulder

By Mitch Lawrence

The Final Four is being played and one of the great stories deals with a player for Oklahoma University named Isaiah Cousins. Cousins is a senior shooting guard from Mount Vernon, New York, about 40 minutes outside New York City. That’s a town that lives, eats and sleeps basketball and has produced scores of great college basketball players, with Cousins being the latest.

Only 22 months ago, when Cousins was back home for summer break, he got caught in the cross-fire during a gang war not from his home, in the Bronx. As bullets whizzed by him, Cousins ran away from the shooting with his friends, until one noticed that Cousins was bleeding. It turns out that he took a bullet in the back of his left shoulder.

And that’s how Isaiah Cousins has been playing basketball ever since – with a bullet in his back. He’s played the last two seasons with it and it hasn’t stopped him or Oklahoma, which was trying to win its first national title. He knows he’s fortunate to just be alive. As he told people recently, “I’m just lucky.’ We didn’t have a team in the Final Four and maybe you don’t either. But I tend to root for kids like Isaiah Cousins because of what some of them have to go through in life. In Isaiah’s case, he still has the bullet in his back to prove it.