Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has two bills sitting on his desk, each over one year in age, that would raise the minimum wage and implement protections for workers against wage theft.
In January of 2019, Bernie Sanders with 32 cosponsors introduced the Raise the Wage Act in order to increase the minimum wage for regular employees over a seven-year period by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, according to Congress.gov.
The bill would eliminate separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired and disabled workers and would require those employees be paid the same minimum wage as regular employees after a period of time.
After Sanders’ bill, Democrat Senator Patty Murray with 25 cosponsors introduced the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act in July of 2019, per Congress.gov. The proposed bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 as well and provide these protections to employees:
Require employers to make initial and modified disclosures to employees of the term of their employment, provide regular paystubs and make a final payment to an employee for uncompensated work hours within 14 days of the employee’s termination
Employers must allow employees to access wage records
An employer must compensate an employee at the rate specified in an employment contract, including a collective bargaining agreement, that specifies a rate of pay higher than the minimum wage
Establishes new and increased civil and criminal penalties for FLSA overtime and minimum wage violations in addition to referral to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution of employers who engage in wage theft, falsification of wage records or retaliation against employees
And if you think wage theft isn’t a pressing issue, think again.
The amount of wage theft in this country is greater than all other forms of property crime — combined. And yet, it is seldom prosecuted.
The priorities of our criminal legal system are revealing. pic.twitter.com/5YiBSG2x6V
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) June 17, 2020
Unfortunately, the current government in place has failed the American people considering McConnell has left two bills on his desk that would immediately provide invaluable support for working Americans. But McConnell’s lack of action shouldn’t surprise anyone as he represents certain corporate interests and doesn’t remotely try to appease regular Americans.
The Senate races in Georgia will decide who controls the senate and will dictate whether Americans all around the country get a raise or not.
If Georgia votes for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, many Americans will see a pay raise as the Democrats will have enough votes in the Senate to pass the two aforementioned bills that will provide a higher minimum wage and add more protections for everyday workers.
If McConnell maintains control by winning the senate races in Georgia, nothing will change. Many American workers will not be paid enough to live on and will not receive the wage protections that they deserve.
About Ryan Lipton
Ryan is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation’s Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league. Ryan is also a regular contributor to MeidasTouch.com