CAIR-LA Joins National Effort to Combat Wage Theft
Los Angeles , CA : The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) has announced its efforts as part of a national coalition to combat wage theft, spearheaded by the national network, Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ). The IWJ has declared November 18 a 'National Day of Action Against Wage Theft' to call attention to a crisis that robs millions of American workers of billions of dollars that they have worked for but never seen.
Wage theft is the pervasive and illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work, including violations of minimum wage laws, not paying overtime, forcing workers to work off the clocks, and withholding final paychecks from workers. It is a problem that affects a variety of groups, although low wage workers are particularly vulnerable.
IWJ estimates that workers this year alone were owed a total of $19 billion, many of them from Latino, African American and immigrant backgrounds. Additionally, an estimated three million workers are paid less than the minimum wage and another three million are misclassified purposely so employers do not have to pay full wages.
SEE: Background on Wage Theft
As part of its effort to raise awareness of and mobilize support for the various actions to combat wage theft, CAIR-LA worked with Southern California religious leaders to disseminate information about the wage theft crisis in their khutbas (sermons) on Friday, November 12. The November 12 th prayer services marked the lead up to Eid-ul-Adha (festival of sacrifice) held on Tuesday, November 16. Eid-ul-Adha is a time for Muslims to commemorate the spirit of sacrifice, which also resonates with workers across the nation who have been exploited by unethical employers, had their wages stolen and must financially struggle to provide for their families.
"As Muslims, we have a moral imperative to support social justice, economic fairness and fair treatment in the workplace," said CAIR-LA Executive Director and IWJ Board Member Hussam Ayloush. "The history of Islam is in fact rooted in a firm stand against economic exploitation. Our Prophet Muhammed, PBUH, said 'Pay the worker while the sweat is still on the brow.' "
CAIR-LA urges the Southern California Muslim community to actively support current national legislative measures targeting the epidemic of wage theft by urging their members of Congress to co-sponsor the following legislative measures: the Wage Theft Prevention Act (H.R. 3303/S. 3877), Fair Playing Field Act (H.R. 6128/S. 3786), and Wage Theft Prevention and Community Partnership Act (H.R. 6268).
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.