LAWCN Urges Mayor Bass, LA City Council to Prioritize Wage Theft in LA City Budget

Home » Resources » LAWCN Urges Mayor Bass, LA City Council to Prioritize Wage Theft in LA City Budget

LOS ANGELES — Last week, the Los Angeles Worker Center Network (LAWCN), on behalf of its nine member organizations representing low-wage workers, sent a public letter to Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles City Council to call for prioritization of wage theft and labor standards enforcement in the 2024-2025 LA City Budget. In the letter, LAWCN advocates for the inclusion of the most vulnerable working Angelenos facing housing and food insecurity in the upcoming budget, despite the significant shortfalls and other economic challenges faced by the city.

Angelenos of color continue to fall into poverty and homelessness due to wage theft. As the wage theft capital of the nation, Los Angeles leads Chicago and New York—other major contenders—by a full 20%, with a whopping 88% of workers in Los Angeles County experiencing labor standards violations.

“By prioritizing curbing wage theft and labor standards violations in the LA City budget, Mayor Karen Bass and the City Council have an opportunity to help counter our city’s trend as the wage theft capital of the nation, while building a model for the region and the nation to effectively address the root causes that perpetuate this crisis,” said Armando Gudino, executive director of LAWCN.

In recent weeks, the City of Los Angeles published two reports (BCA report; City Attorney report) with a series of recommendations intended to address the city’s dual crisis of wage theft and homelessness. The recommendations include prioritizing efficient resolution of wage theft and labor violation cases; implementation of efficient, strategic enforcement; and conducting broader public outreach and education. In the letter, LAWCN urges the Mayor and City Council to consider funding based on the recommendations presented in these reports, along with the pending reports being prepared by the Chief Legislative Analyst in response to two other council motions authored and moved by Councilmembers Soto-Martinez and McOsker.

“It is no coincidence that Los Angeles is the nation’s leader in both homelessness and wage theft. Poverty is a main driver of homelessness, and the lowest-income Angelenos lose an estimated twelve percent of take-home pay to wage theft every year. For our city to fully address the housing crisis, we need affordable housing, but also living wages and a robust enforcement system to realize that wage,” said Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center.

LAWCN members include CLEAN Carwash Worker Center, Garment Worker Center, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Pilipino Workers Center, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles, Warehouse Worker Resource Center, UCLA Labor Center, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services.