We applaud Attorney General Maura Healey for rooting out specific cases of wage theft within our state such as at UnWrapped Inc. in Lowell (“Factory in Lowell to pay $1.2m over wages,” Business, March 10). With an estimated $700 million in wage theft occurring annually in Massachusetts, this $1.2 million settlement is an important victory, but stronger regulations are needed in order to reduce the overall frequency and prevalence of wage theft in our state.
Unfortunately, this case is also further evidence that wage theft has become business as usual. In our modern economy, where bad employers increasingly use subcontracting and outsourcing deals to dodge responsibility for their workers, the epidemic of wage theft has overwhelmed the capacity of our existing labor laws and enforcement mechanisms.
Governor Baker and the Legislature should join the attorney general in combating the wage theft epidemic by passing the Act to Prevent Wage Theft and Promote Employer Accountability without delay this session. The bill would give the attorney general additional tools to hold employers accountable when they break the law. It would protect the basic right of employees to be paid what they’ve been promised and what they have earned. Preventing wage theft should not be a partisan issue.