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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 3, 1993
Columnist James Zellers' article, "Third World Wages Won't Rebuild L.A." (Commentary, Jan. 28), was right on the mark! If we as a society continue to look for ways to pay our workers less than a living wage, then we have only ourselves to blame when these workers cannot afford to create stable, two-parent households in which to nurture the next generation of citizens in America. Every corporate executive and every political leader in Southern California should read and study the weighty, obvious material in this short column.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
April 13, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The continuing push for higher minimum wages across the country has much to recommend it, but the campaign shouldn't keep us from recognizing a truly insidious practice that impoverishes low-wage workers all the more. It's known as wage theft. Wage theft, as documented in surveys, regulatory actions and lawsuits from around the country, takes many forms: Forcing hourly employees off the clock by putting them to work before they can clock in or after they clock out. Manipulating their time cards to cheat them of overtime pay. Preventing them from taking legally mandated breaks or shaving down their lunch hours.
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BUSINESS
February 18, 1992 | HARRY BERNSTEIN
Pathetically few members of Congress or thinkers in America's "think tanks" gave serious thought to coping with the economic impact of the Cold War's end, especially on workers--until it ended. Even our intelligence agencies gave no notice that the economy of the Soviet Union was about to collapse. Almost none of our leaders believed that our enemy was going out of business, that its remnants would become our hungry friends.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2014 | By Laura J. Nelson
During a packed and sometimes tense four-hour public hearing Saturday, Los Angeles County transportation officials heard a litany of complaints from transit riders who said a proposed Metro fare hike would strain the budgets of students and working-class families. A crowd of more than 500 activists, students and low-wage workers packed Metro's downtown boardroom and spilled into the cafeteria as speaker after speaker pressed elected officials to avoid fare increases or service cutbacks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 1997 | JODI WILGOREN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A proposed law intended to boost pay and benefits for thousands of low-wage workers whose private employers contract with Los Angeles city government would cost $28 million to $42 million a year, according to a much-anticipated study released Friday.
OPINION
March 10, 2013 | By Andy Stern and Carl Camden
Nearly 8 million Americans go to work every day yet still live below the poverty line. That is in part because the federal minimum wage is too low. Currently, an individual with a full-time job at the minimum wage and a family of three to support will fall below the federal poverty line. These workers, despite putting in regular hours, are struggling to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. By allowing the minimum wage to remain at a nearly unlivable level, we have deemed certain jobs not worthy enough to meet even our country's minimum standard of living.
NEWS
December 26, 1987 | Associated Press
About 300 university professors and assistants stopped work Friday to protest Yugoslavia's low wages and 170% annual inflation rate.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 2, 1995
At Christmas, my husband received a pair of sport shoes made in Red China, shirts made in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and a VCR made in Malaysia. I received a sweater made in Mexico, additional clothing made in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, and cosmetic enlightenments made in Red China. Also received a Dustbuster made in Red China. With manufacturers paying slave labor wages, not too funny that the consumer's price does not reflect the low wages. As Ross Perot said, if the United States doesn't have a manufacturing base, then we're down the tubes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 15, 1988
Michael Koss' column "Rent Control Is Missing Its Target" (Op-Ed Page, July 28) and the subsequent letters (Aug. 8) all failed to mention the fact that if rent control were phased out or eliminated it would directly result in countless numbers of more homeless people on our streets. It is a known fact that there are many who have jobs, but on their low wages they are unable to afford the astronomical rents that prevail in this area. The Reagan Administration's drastic cutbacks in housing funds have certainly made the matter worse.
BUSINESS
August 17, 2008
Finally the truth comes out. Employers abuse the system more often than the much-maligned injured employee. ("Focus shifts to employers in workers' comp audits," Aug. 8). Abuse is rampant in fields where people are paid low wages and are desperate to keep working no matter how unfair the conditions. Executives are not immune to this abuse either. Roseanne Eichenbaum Costa Mesa -- The state remains sorely understaffed and lacks the creativity to find solutions to both employer and employee abuses in workers' comp.
OPINION
February 23, 2014
Re "Better than a minimum wage," Opinion, Feb. 21 USC economist Larry Harris says that instead of raising the minimum wage, low wages should be beefed up by government wage vouchers. Harris mentions that payroll taxes would increase with more employment, but since this would be facilitated by government money, it would be the dog chasing its own tail. Arguing that wage subsidies would be better than boosting the minimum wage, Harris says that business owners follow the market principle of supply and demand.
OPINION
January 30, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
We've all been there at some point, sitting in a restaurant ordering dinner when the waiter sneezes and mumbles an apologetic, "Sorry, I'm fighting a cold. " Why is he at work? Especially at a job that brings him close to other people? Maybe it is because he can't afford to miss the shift, something that a recently introduced Assembly bill could help remedy. AB 1522, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), would require companies to provide a minimum of three days annual paid sick leave for any employee not covered by a collective bargaining agreement (which usually includes sick leave guarantees)
BUSINESS
November 13, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Low wages paid by the fast-food industry come with a high public cost for California taxpayers, academics and advocates for the working poor told state lawmakers. Workers at hamburger, pizza and other, mainly franchise, eateries are paid at near-minimum-wage levels, making them eligible for public assistance that totaled an average of $717 million a year in California from 2007 to 2011. The condition of low-wage fry cooks and sandwich makers was the focus of a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly labor committees Wednesday.
BUSINESS
September 19, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, who served in the Clinton administration, warned during an interview of the perils of widening income inequality in the United States, excessive executive compensation and the future of labor. Reich is promoting his new documentary, "Inequality for All," which looks at the income gap and possible solutions. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and won a special jury prize in the documentary competition for director Jacob Kornbluth.
OPINION
September 3, 2013
Re "Fast-food workers rally," Business, Aug. 30 Bravo to the fast-food workers who are at long last demanding a decent standard of living. It is important for all of us to understand the reality that their jobs are no longer the province of high school kids who want more purchasing power than they get from their allowances. More and more of these jobs go to adults who in an earlier generation had jobs that paid well and provided benefits - jobs that are no more. Let me make a modest proposal: Instead of tying the minimum wage to state law, let us tie that wage to corporate profits.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Anita Herrera spent years cleaning offices in San Diego, but her boss never gave her a legally required lunch and rest break during a seven-hour shift. When she eventually asked for a breather, her employer cut her hours. So, in 2009, Herrera filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner's Office. Investigators corroborated the allegation and got a court order requiring her former employer to pay her $20,000 in penalties for the wage-and-hour law violations.
OPINION
May 31, 2012
Re "Bid for guest worker plan hits familiar barrier: politics," Column, May 27 Steve Lopez cites some of the many reasons for the complicated and byzantine issues involving the supply of undocumented labor and immigration policy: Native-born residents are still virtually impossible to recruit; exploitative low wages and cruel working environments; and fears of crop losses. One variable I have yet to read about is consumers' demand for cheap groceries, regardless of the cost of growing and producing.
NEWS
April 7, 2002
Re "Tomato Pickers Are Root of Own Stagnant Wages," Letters, March 24: Francis Concannon's screed against tomato pickers demonstrated that he has a flawed understanding of the law of supply and demand, not to mention U.S. labor law. Clearly there is strong relationship between the supply of tomato pickers and wages. However, growers often manipulate wages by offering more pay or work than is available. Hungry workers take what they can get, a fact not lost on the growers. Just as important, when the tomato crop fails, the workers pay the biggest price, unemployment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 2013 | Steve Lopez
Last week, I visited a South Los Angeles woman whose story should embarrass us. It's a story that's not uncommon, and deserves the full attention of the next mayor of the city. Alicia, whose full name I'm withholding because she's afraid her boss would fire her, is a maid who started working for a major hotel chain in Hollywood about three years ago. Her hourly pay is $8.65, and her last raise was 5 cents an hour. I kid you not. They threw her an extra nickel. Toward the end of the mayoral campaign, local labor leaders tried to win support for candidate Wendy Greuel by suggesting that she would raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour.
OPINION
March 10, 2013 | By Andy Stern and Carl Camden
Nearly 8 million Americans go to work every day yet still live below the poverty line. That is in part because the federal minimum wage is too low. Currently, an individual with a full-time job at the minimum wage and a family of three to support will fall below the federal poverty line. These workers, despite putting in regular hours, are struggling to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. By allowing the minimum wage to remain at a nearly unlivable level, we have deemed certain jobs not worthy enough to meet even our country's minimum standard of living.
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