Sweatshop Conditions in US Cities - by Stephen Lendman
A new low-wage industry study by the Center for Urban Economic Development, the National Employment Law Project, and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment exposes the dark side of workforce exploitation in America's three largest cities - New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
From January through August 2008, researchers conducted 90-minute interviews with 4,387 "front-line" workers, aged 18 or older, using "innovative, rigorous methodology" to reach vulnerable people "often missed in standard surveys, such as (undocumented) immigrants and those paid in cash." The goal was to be as statistically representative of workplace violations as possible for a population of about 1.64 million workers, or 15% of the total workforce studied.
The report documented flagrant workplace violations, core protections most Americans take for granted, including a guaranteed minimum wage, overtime pay, regular meal and other breaks, worker compensation for on-the-job injuries, and the right to bargain collectively for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Overall, the study found widespread labor law violations, including:
-- below minimum wage pay;
-- unpaid overtime;
-- denial of meal and other breaks;