Chinese communities are prominent in many major metropolitan areas, including LA, Chicago, and New York. San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most widely recognized of those communities and also a place of major “wage theft” among minimum wage workers. The Chron reports that in a study being released today by the Chinese Progressive Association, half of the 400 workers they surveyed over a two year period are being paid less than minimum wage.
Restaurant workers who conducted this survey were specifically trained for their demographic by experts from UCSF, UC Berkeley, the SF Department of Health, and SF’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement, among other entities. This culturally aware training yields many benefits and as UC Berkeley public health expert Meredith Minkler suspects, “White, middle-class outsiders could never have gotten this.”
Previous studies done in other aforementioned cities only yielded a 26% rate reported of wage theft. Wage theft occurs when employers withhold legally required pay or benefits. Workers wanting to report violations of labor laws, such as wage theft are instructed to call the state labor commissioner’s office at (415) 703-4810 or the federal enforcement office at (415) 625-7720.