Demanding an End to Wage Theft

June 17, 2021
This month, the MassCOSH Immigrant Worker Center called on state representatives and community members to take a stand against wage theft and support An Act to Prevent Wage Theft, Promote Employer Accountability, and Enhance Public Enforcement (H1959/S1179).
On June 3rd, MassCOSH and Wage Theft Coalition partner organizations, worker leaders, and legislative sponsors Senator Sal N. DiDomenico and Representative Daniel M. Donahue organized a successful rally outside of the State House to speak out on the importance of the bill. MassCOSH Board members and Worker Center leaders, Mayra Molina and Beatriz Yañez Placencia both showed their support at the rally and MassCOSH Director of Policy and Programs Al Vega served as the rally emcee. Vega also supported with interpretation when Molina gave a powerful testimony on her own experience with wage theft, receiving support from the MassCOSH Worker Center, and reflecting on how wage theft impacts immigrant working families' ability to pay for bills and basic needs. She also spoke of the cruelty of employer wage theft and how these terrible businesses face few repercussions. You can watch rally testimony here.
On June 8, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard various testimonies on the bill, including testimony from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (5:02-20:20), MA AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, and moving testimonies from Worker Center members and workers. Milagros Barreto, MassCOSH Worker Center Director, gave passionate testimony on how MassCOSH members have been impacted by wage theft and why these protections are long overdue (1:52:26-1:55:33). To watch the recording of the hearing, click here.