SSN Testimony

Addressing Wage Theft on County Projects

Policy field

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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Thank you for taking the time to address wage theft in Multnomah County.

My name is Lina Stepick and I’m a Multnomah County resident and faculty member with the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon in downtown Portland. I am honored to be here today as a third party panelist and provide some introductory information on wage theft.

Wage theft impacts all workers, especially those most vulnerable to labor violations, it disadvantages good actors/contractors, undermines public revenues1 (which is particularly concerning for publicly funded projects), and has a negative multiplier effect as workers are less able to spend their earnings in the local economy.

To start, I want to be sure we are all on the same page regarding the rather expansive definition of wage theft. I then have some statistics to share from studies conducted across the country.