Schiavo wage theft bill clears Labor Committee

Politics and government

News release 

Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo’s bill targeting wage theft, Assembly Bill 2135, has moved past its first hurdle, passing out of the Labor Committee.  

AB 2135 is aimed at bolstering the rights of employees to seek justice for wage theft by extending the statute of limitations for investigations and ensuring cases aren’t closed simply because the state Labor Commission is unable to complete an investigation, according to a release from Schiavo’s office.   

Wage theft is a pervasive issue impacting too many workers, often going unchallenged due to fear of retaliation, insufficient documentation, and the lengthy nature of the complaint process, the release said. AB 2135 seeks to dismantle these barriers by providing the labor commissioner’s office with additional time to assess and resolve complaints, even after the completion of a public works project. 

“Introducing AB 2135 is a step towards dismantling the bureaucratic hurdles that have historically been a barrier for workers simply trying to make sure they are paid the fair wages they are owed,” Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, said in the release. “When investigations into wage theft are left unresolved, workers are the ones who suffer and unscrupulous employers are allowed to continue taking advantage of vulnerable workers. Our goal is to empower employees and ensure they have the confidence and support to report injustices.”  

“Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 761 strongly supports AB 2135 because it enforces prevailing wage laws,” Greg Lewis, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 761, said in the release. “It will help workers get paid the proper wage and holds bad contractors accountable.”   

Schiavo added: “In 2020 alone, nearly 2,000 cases of wage theft were reported in the context of public works projects, with a significant portion dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. It’s unacceptable for workers to suffer because of systemic inefficiencies. AB 2135 will safeguard their rights by allowing more time for their complaints to be thoroughly investigated.”  

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