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82 San Diego workers filed minimum wage complaints last year

Study shows local employees not getting their pay

Graphic handed out by SDSU department of sociology, the Center on Policy Initiatives, and the Employee Rights Center of San Diego.

San Diego workers are not getting the pay to which they are entitled, says a study released yesterday (July 11) by the San Diego State University Department of Sociology, the Center on Policy Initiatives, and the Employee Rights Center of San Diego.

One key finding is that employers in San Diego and Imperial Counties failed to pay the minimum wage ($11.50 per hour in San Diego) 40,000 times last year, but only 82 workers filed complaints with the state Labor Commissioner. The city of San Diego has not enforced the minimum wage and has referred complaints to the state.

Analysis of the 2016 claims at the Labor Commissioner's San Diego office indicates that 71 percent of claims revolve around employers' failure to pay regular wages (including off-the-clock work and final paychecks). The survey shows that workers rarely file complaints while still on the job, and typically wait months before filing complaints. There are two major reasons for such delays: fear of retaliation and lack of information on employment law and the process for filing.

These findings are not surprising. There has always been a strained relationship between capital and labor. From the end of World War II to the mid-1970s, capital and labor struck a healthy balance and both benefited from increased productivity. But beginning in 1980, capital began to capture almost all the gains.

"So I sez to the boss, I sez…" is seldom heard these days.

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Graphic handed out by SDSU department of sociology, the Center on Policy Initiatives, and the Employee Rights Center of San Diego.

San Diego workers are not getting the pay to which they are entitled, says a study released yesterday (July 11) by the San Diego State University Department of Sociology, the Center on Policy Initiatives, and the Employee Rights Center of San Diego.

One key finding is that employers in San Diego and Imperial Counties failed to pay the minimum wage ($11.50 per hour in San Diego) 40,000 times last year, but only 82 workers filed complaints with the state Labor Commissioner. The city of San Diego has not enforced the minimum wage and has referred complaints to the state.

Analysis of the 2016 claims at the Labor Commissioner's San Diego office indicates that 71 percent of claims revolve around employers' failure to pay regular wages (including off-the-clock work and final paychecks). The survey shows that workers rarely file complaints while still on the job, and typically wait months before filing complaints. There are two major reasons for such delays: fear of retaliation and lack of information on employment law and the process for filing.

These findings are not surprising. There has always been a strained relationship between capital and labor. From the end of World War II to the mid-1970s, capital and labor struck a healthy balance and both benefited from increased productivity. But beginning in 1980, capital began to capture almost all the gains.

"So I sez to the boss, I sez…" is seldom heard these days.

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Comments
8

82 complaints extrapolates 40,000 instances wage abuse? I'm just wondering of those 40,000 instances how many employees were goofing off part of the day and, more importantly, knew they were being paid to work thus abusing their employer?

In my opinion these types of reports are tornadoes in a toilet bowl. Everything gets stirred up, but ultimately it all gets flushed. They are dubious at best, and usually tilted for intended outcome or audience.

July 13, 2017

JustWondering: I disagree with your assessment. I am not surprised that very few workers filed complaints that they were not getting their minimum wage. I am not surprised that San Diego does not have a process for filing complaints and workers have to go to the state. Workers are fearful of losing jobs, unlike that period after World War II, when organized labor was strong and major nationwide strikes were common.

Capital has the power now. Labor is impotent, except in government jobs. You may not be old enough to remember the frequent crippling strikes by labor in the 1950s and 1960s. They barely occur anymore. Labor is weak and capital is all-powerful. That's one reason for the horrendous income and wealth gap between the upper 10 percent (and particularly upper 1 percent) and the rest of the nation. Best, Don Bauder

July 13, 2017

Spoken like a true Trump supporter. Labor is just another business expense, to be minimized wherever possible. No matter that workers are often the face of the business, in restaurants, hotels and retail establishments. Make their lives as miserable as possible and hope the customers don't notice their pain.

There are employers who reward their employees and that is often reflected in company profits. They include Costco, In-n-Out burger and others. Henry Ford, a generally miserable person, understood the business sense of paying a decent wage to his workers.

July 13, 2017

Costco is today's best example of an enlightened management. Even the CEOs don't get fat paychecks, despite the success of the company. But there are few Costcos. Most employers now step on employees dispiteously. With robotics coming on strong, and jobs continuing to be shipped abroad, I see no improvement on the horizon.

As the middle class recedes, the economy will remain weak. Best, Don Bauder

July 13, 2017

'Beginning 1980..." Hmmm... Ronny Reagan.

July 14, 2017

FJL: Yes, this was part of Reagan's philosophy and he made no bones about it. However, the balanced capital-labor period post WWII ended in 1975. Best, Don Bauder

July 14, 2017

Don't need no unions or contracts with employers. Human resources is exactly that. Get as much as you can from workers, pay as little as possible, make them pay for their own benefits (if they have any) and let the stupid taxpayer pad the bottom line by paying for welfare benefits for the workers. Good Walmart business plan.

July 15, 2017

AlexClarke: You have described Wall-Mart's modus operandi accurately. There is another angle: get subsidies from taxpayers to locate your stores in a particular area. Best, Don Bauder

July 15, 2017

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