Theft of wages by employers is estimated to costs low income workers $50 billion a year. That’s 3x greater than the total of all robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and car thefts in a year.
The central theme of NobodyisFlyingthePlane is that we’re not paying attention to the real things that harm us and the real causes of the problems we face. This is a great example. We spend enormous amounts of time, money, and mental efforts fighting theft by the disenfranchised, but we institutionally support theft from them by those higher up on the ladder.
NobodyisFlyingthePlane means we fail to see our problems for what they really are. The same behavior we enshrine as good business practice we imprison others for.
failure to pay what workers are legally entitled to can be called wage theft; in essence, it involves employers taking money that belongs to their employees and keeping it for themselves.
evidence suggests that wage theft is widespread and costs workers billions of dollars a year, a transfer from low-income employees to business owners that worsens income inequality, hurts workers and their families, and damages the sense of fairness and justice that a democracy needs to survive.
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.2That is well over one-third of the estimated cost of wage theft nationwide.
Underscoring how widespread the problem of wage theft is, Kentucky Labor Cabinet spokesperson Daniel Lowry reported that the state collected $4.4 million in restitution on wage theft cases in 2013, while comparatively all robberies in the state totaled $2.5 million.14