The Houston Chronicle reports that the “Wage Theft” proposal, which as some might recall, would create a Wage Theft czar who would keep of companies accused of improperly stealing overtime pay from workers.
Anyways, the City Council looked over the draft ordinance yesterday and had some choice words to say, Specifically, the conservatives on the council, backed by their business lobby friends, attempted to kill the ordinance. As Morris’ article continues, with a quote from Councilmember Dave Martin:
“This is overkill,” Councilman Dave Martin said. “There is a problem, we recognize it, but to create an administrative function seems to me like it’s going to be an expensive proposition and it’s going to be the city getting itself in the middle of employee-employer disputes.”
I tried to get some more quotes out of Morris vis-a-vis specific stands by other Councilmembers, but was unsuccessful. That being said, I suspect that other right-wing Councilmembers assisted in piling onto this measure. These would include people like Jack Christie, Helena Brown and Oliver Pennington.
Fortunately, some cooler heads also voiced opinions on the matter, specifically interest groups reached for comment by Morris:
Fe y Justicia Worker Center Executive Director Laura Perez-Boston described the proposal as watered down, but still important.
“This ordinance only impacts your business if you knowingly and willingly denied earned wages to your employees,” she said. “If you’re paying them fairly, it does not impact you and should not be of concern to responsible businesses.”
Richard Shaw, of the Harris County AFL-CIO, agreed.
“The city can choose with whom it wants to do business,” he said. “Do not do business with criminals. That’s what we’re asking.”
I absolutely agree with Shaw on this matter. It is not overkill to punitively punish those who steal from some of the most vulnerable among us. From what I understand, this measure was not voted on one way or another, and since the ordinance is still a draft, it will be sat on for a little longer. There is still no timeline in sight for such an ordinance.
In other news, I have officially moved into my new dorm in Boston. It has central air conditioning, which in Boston, is a pretty big deal. I even hung up the old tricolor, to remember where I came from as I continue writing about it.