Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement on the fast food worker strikes taking place today in at least 190 cities across the country:
"I hope all New Yorkers and all Americans will sit up and listen to the message of the fast food workers taking to the streets today: Everyone deserves a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. As New York state attorney general, it is my job to ensure equal justice under law. It's why I've fought to recover more than $19 million for nearly 14,000 workers over the past four years, and why we continue to crack down on wage theft by unscrupulous employers in every industry - including bringing criminal charges. It's why my office supports New Yorkers' right to a safe working environment and their right to join a union, without fear of retaliation. And it's why I stand with all workers in their struggle for justice and fairness."
A new report released today by the U.S. Labor Department shows that up to 6.5 percent of New Yorkers are paid less than the minimum wage, with more than 300,000 workers suffering minimum-wage violations each month. Since taking office in 2011, Schneiderman has successfully take action in more than 50 cases of labor violations, returning more than $19 million in restitution to almost 14,000 workers across New York. Some of the attorney general's actions, include:
•Protecting the rights of fast food, car wash and airport workers, among others;
•Enforcing the prevailing wage laws, which require a higher rate of pay for construction workers on public works projects and for employees of building that have received lucrative tax incentives;
•Combating unlawful employer retaliation against employees who have stood up for their rights or voiced public safety concerns;
•Criminally prosecuting employers who commit egregious violations, showing extreme disregard for workers' basic rights and the rule of law;
•Innovating to protect workers who are not covered by traditional labor laws; and
•Defending workers in a digital world.
Schneiderman encourages every worker who feels his/her rights have been violated to contact the office of the attorney general's labor bureau by calling 212-416-8700 or visiting the office of the attorney general's website at www.ag.ny.gov.