Anti wage theft bill SF 191 passes subcommittee, must survive funnel

Iowa CCI Action Fund members need to keep pushing legislators before the funnel date to pass bills that will tackle the wage theft problem in Iowa.

We need stronger legislation that protects our workers from being ripped off by unscrupulous employers. Senator William Dotzler recently introduced Senate File 191 (companion to HF 38), a bill essential to stopping wage theft in our state.

Senate File 191  is essential to stopping wage theft in Iowa, and that is why CCI Action Fund members are working through the legislative session to make sure this bill gets far at the Statehouse this year.

SF 191 would…

  • Protect workers from unauthorized or unlawful pay deductions
  • Inform workers of their wages paid based on mileage, work by the piece or loads — giving more transparency to working relationships
  • Hold employers accountable for ethical business practices, such as accurate record-keeping related to employees’ hours and wages and giving pay stubs.
  • Protect workers from retaliation from employers for claiming their rightly earned wages and establishes penalties for employers that break the law.

On our second rally and lobby day, last February 26, Senator Dotzler led the a subcommittee on the bill, where several CCI Action Fund members testified in favor of giving greater protections to workers and ensuring that everyday Iowans get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Senate File 191 passed in subcommittee and is headed to the Senate Labor Committee, which meets this week. It is key that we contact Senator Wally Horn (D-Cedar Rapids), chair of the Senate Labor Committee and ask him to let SF 191 pass out of committee before March 8.

What you can do:

  • E-mail Sen. Horn: wally.horn@legis.iowa.gov or call the Senate switchboard: (515)281-3371  and share with him why this bill is important and let us know if you hear back!

Last summer, the University of Iowa’s Labor Center and the Iowa Policy Project released an alarming report about wage theft in Iowa.  At our Kick off at the Capitol last January 15, a group of CCI Action Fund members shared some of the key findings of the report with legislators.

Here are some of the facts:

Every year…

  • Iowa workers lose $600 million to wage theft across our state
  • The state of Iowa loses around $68 million in unpaid revenue, unemployment taxes
  • Industries most affected are construction, cleaning, restaurant workers
  • Wage theft, in its many forms, disproportionally affects low-wage workers and immigrants

Wage theft takes a toll on the economy as it suppresses consumer power, has legal consequences for businesses and takes revenue away from our communities. You can read the full report here.

SF 191 would be an excellent complement to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal labor law already in place that aims to protect workers from exploitation, as it ensures that no employer can withhold wages for work completed, on the basis of someone’s citizenship or immigration status.

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