Petition Closed
Petitioning Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism and 11 others
This petition will be delivered to:
Shelby County Commissioner
Sidney Chism
Shelby County Commissioner
Wyatt Bunker
Shelby County Commissioner
Mike Ritz
Shelby County Commissioner
Heidi Shafer
Shelby County Commissioner
Walter Bailey
Shelby County Commissioner
Henri Brooks
Shelby County Commissioner
Melvin Burgess
Shelby County Commissioner
James Harvey
Shelby County Commissioner
Justin Ford
Shelby County Commissioner
Chris Thomas
Shelby County Commissioner
Terry Roland
Shelby County Commissioner
Steve Mulroy

Shelby County Commissioner: Pass a wage theft law for Shelby County

Waiting tables to put yourself through college is tough. It's even tougher when the restaurant you work for is breaking the law by not paying you the minimum wage.

When Cynthia Marquez was a waitress at El Toro Loco in Memphis, she was only paid in tips - the restaurant paid her nothing. Some days she made just $60 after working for 11 hours.

Cynthia is just one of the thousands of victims of wage theft in Shelby County. Even though federal law requires all workers to be paid minimum wage, and most workers to be paid overtime, it's easy for businesses to get away with wage theft.

That's because there are so few federal wage and hour investigators that they can't possibly investigate all the wage theft cases that are brought to them. Tennessee is one of just 5 states with no minimum wage law, so the Tennessee Department of Labor can do little to help workers who experience wage theft.

That's why a growing number of people are calling on the Shelby County Commission to pass a local wage theft law. If passed, the wage theft ordinance will allow workers to recover their stolen wages through a local complaint and hearing process. Miami-Dade County passed such a similar law in 2010, and it has already recovered over $400,000 in stolen wages for workers.


Letter to
Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism
Shelby County Commissioner Wyatt Bunker
Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz
and 9 others
Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer
Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey
Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks
Shelby County Commissioner Melvin Burgess
Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey
Shelby County Commissioner Justin Ford
Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas
Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy
I urge you to support a local wage theft ordinance for Shelby County. Members of the Stop Wage Theft Campaign, led by Workers Interfaith Network, are currently reaching out to you about this proposed legislation. I encourage you to meet with them as soon as possible to learn about this urgently needed ordinance.

Research by the National Employment Law Project finds that 2 out of 3 low-wage workers have experienced some form of wage theft. This can include not being paid minimum wage, not receiving overtime pay, being forced to work off the clock, having tips stolen, or not receiving a final paycheck for a job.

To give just one example from a recent report by Workers Interfaith Network, Cynthia Marquez worked at El Toro Loco restaurant on Poplar Ave. to help pay for her college education. She was only paid in tips - the restaurant paid her nothing. Some days she made just $60 after working for 11 hours.

Perhaps you saw news reports last month on WREG about nurses and home care workers at Family Home Health Agency who had been working for a month without pay.

There are thousands of victims of wage theft in Shelby County. Even though federal law requires all workers to be paid minimum wage, and most workers to be paid overtime, it's easy for businesses to get away with wage theft.

That's because there are so few federal wage and hour investigators that they can't possibly investigate all the wage theft cases that are brought to them. Tennessee is one of just 5 states with no minimum wage law, so the Tennessee Department of Labor can do little to help workers who experience wage theft.

That's why a growing number of people are calling on the Shelby County Commission to pass a local wage theft law. If passed, the wage theft ordinance will allow workers to recover their stolen wages through a local complaint and hearing process. Miami-Dade County passed such a similar law in 2010, and it has already recovered over $400,000 in stolen wages for workers.

I encourage you to set up a meeting with Workers Interfaith Network to discuss the wage theft ordinance by calling 332-3570 or emailing kyle@workersinterfaithnetwork.org. Thank you in advance for supporting the hard-working people of Shelby County.

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Sincerely,