An Epidemic of Wage Theft Is Costing Workers Hundreds of Millions Tens of Billions of Dollars a Year (2014)

... A three-city study of workers in low-wage industries found that in any given week, two-thirds experienced at least one pay-related violation.1 The researchers estimated that the average loss per worker over the course of a year was $2,634, out of total earnings of $17,616. The total annual wage theft from front-line workers in low-wage industries in the three cities approached $3 billion. If these findings in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are generalizable to the rest of the U.S. low-wage workforce of 30 million, wage theft is costing workers more than $50 billion a year.

It is useful to compare the cost of these wage and hour violations with crimes that are better recognized and greatly more feared, though they are much smaller in their overall dollar impact. All of the robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts in the nation cost their victims less than $14 billion in 2012, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. ...

Yes, wage-theft is three times greater than all property theft.

HN discussion:

@dredmorbius i think i'm noticing that the same perspective can be welcome or unwelcome in different types of hn articles

in particular, the convo here seems pro employee but there are certainly convos that are pro employer

have you noticed anything similar?

@dlovell If you'll look at my own comments in the thread (which seem reasonably well received), I've stuck to a 'just the facts" straight but firm response to claims and rebuttals. I'm also consciously going after what I see as the weakest arguments, returning to unaddressed claims, or straight-up calling bullshit, whilst ignoring bait and insults.

The HN hivemind seems to respond more positively to that.

@dlovell The wage theft post was itself a response to an earlier thread discussing inequity, here:

I'd adopted a more metaphorical though still dispassionate tone there. And enacted one of my preferred recent tactics --- care less about winning the argument and more about presenting a philosophy, or fact, before a wide public. Play the propagandists' own game, but better.

@dlovell I'm not arguing against emotive language or saying people shouldn't engage in it. That ... is tone policing.

Though if I can remain composed and argue a point, I'll do so. It can be quite powerful, leaves the opposition little to latch on to, and, if it can be useful, should be used.

@dlovell James Baldwin, debating Paul Weis on race on the Dick Cavett Show, was a grandmaster of the method.

Absolute grace, eloquence, and intellect. I should hope for as much.

@dredmorbius thanks!

i recently found his debate with buckley, definitely looking for more of his material!

Sign in to participate in the conversation

On the internet, everyone knows you're a cat — and that's totally okay.