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Florida’s SB 862 Would Strangle Wage Theft Protections, Faces Opposition from Labor

Kevin Beckner, via Carrollwood Patch

Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Commissioner, joined labor officials on Monday to denounce Florida Senate Bill 862. The bill’s opponents claim that it would block local authorities from policing wage theft.

The ironically mistitled “Wage Protection for Employees” act would put the burden of investigating wage theft on and understaffed state:

There are only six investigators for the entire state of Florida. A report by Cynthia S. Hernandez and Carol Stepick for the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International Union says there are 1.2 million workers for every Wage and Hour Division investigator (You can find their entire report here.)

The law would go against local interests in counties like Miami-Dade where a dedicated task force has recovered $400,000 in back wages for workers since its 2010 creation. Corporate lobbyists, meanwhile, have portrayed the wage theft protections in Miami-Dade as “burdensome regulations.” While the current bill would not affect Beckner’s home county, it would prevent him from taking similar strides there and could have a chilling effect on how other counties combat wage theft in the future. Beckner explained the dangers of wage theft to the crowd on Monday:

“Wage theft is a crime to workers, and no different than any other criminal theft,” Beckner told a group of reporters speaking in front of the County Center in downtown Tampa, with a handful of activists standing behind him…

…Beckner recited a litany of statistics on how prevalent wage theft is in Florida, and said that Hillsborough County ranks only behind Miami-Dade County as the worst place in the state for such actions.

Read more from the Tampa Bay Times HERE.


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