Public shame more effective than bureaucracy for employers who engage in wage theft (letter)
Editor: Concerning the issue of wage theft highlighted in today’s Vail Daily (“Wage theft is a growing Vail Valley problem,” Tuesday, Aug. 21), one should hope that this problem is confined to the scum level of local businesses and does not involve the honest and reputable enterprises.
The article makes it clear that the courts and the various state and federal agencies are largely ineffective in addressing the issue in a timely manner, even if successful in the long-term. Wage deprivation is an immediate, very short-term problem. Clearly, withholding earned wages is illegal, even in those cases where the worker is illegal. Hiring illegal immigrants is also illegal.
There are at least two less formal and much more immediately effective approaches to the problem which Catholic Charities and other help agencies might use:
1. Publish a weekly list of new claims, the names of the perpetrator businesses and the names of their local managers in the local newspapers and even online;
2. Having obtained the names of the local managers of the perpetrator businesses, locate their residence addresses and drive a sound truck through their neighborhoods proclaiming their misdeeds to their neighbors. This is a common practice of collection agencies — another alternative.
Public shame and disclosure of misdeeds are much more effective in rectifying these disgraceful injustices than the long-delayed actions of any state or federal agency.