Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2014


For almost a decade, DC JwJ had been working with day laborers to secure basic rights. With the support of DC JWJ, Trabajadores Unidos formed to organize their sector, win legal protections on the job, and support each other with gaining consistent employment. One of the biggest challenges day laborers were facing was blatant wage theft. Employers would hire day laborers for all kinds of tasks, take them to worksites where they’d complete the work, and then simply not pay them and often leave them stranded without money for cabs or public transit. Some employers even threatened violence against workers who asked for their due pay.  Trabajadores Unidos worked with community organizations and even the police to gain support for protecting their earnings on the job.  They led multiple public demonstrations to win back wages and constantly complained to the DC Department of Employment Services for support.

DC JWJ has also partnered with building trades unions to fight wage theft in the construction industry, including the Justice at Wings campaign.

In 2012, DC JWJ and Trabajadores Unidos teamed up with restaurant workers from ROC-DC, building trades unions, and disabled worker advocates from the DC EJC to form the Wage Theft Prevention Coalition. Workers from each of these sectors had been experiencing wage theft – a pervasive practice across low wage industries in the city. Together these organizations successfully organized and advocated to win the Wage Theft Prevention Act in April of 2014, as well as administrative procedures put in place for all workers across the city to file wage theft complaints and win back pay.  After winning this law, these workers and organizations continued the fight for wage theft prevention, by forming and leading the DC Just Pay coalition – a community coalition dedicated to implementing workers rights across DC.

Written by Nikki MG Cole

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