As president of a worker center in Boston, I was thrilled to see a reporter recognize the growing role that these centers play in protecting workers from wage theft, dangerous jobs, and other forms of labor abuse (“Worker advocacy groups gain clout, clash with businesses,” Business, Jan. 17). However, I was surprised to see that the reporter only quoted large business associations that criticized worker centers.
I’d like to offer another perspective. Helping workers to achieve their hard-earned wages and employment free from injuries and abuse is a threat to no one but an exploitative employer. As the state’s task force on the underground economy noted, stopping wage theft and workers’ compensation fraud levels the playing field for law-abiding employers and ensures that the state and federal government receives the taxes needed for essential services.
Counter to the claims of business associations, worker centers are nonprofit organizations and are required to keep diligent financial records, be independently audited, and report financial statements to the federal government.
The success of a business in a well-developed society doesn’t have to come at the cost of poverty caused by stolen wages and corrupt and exploitative practices.