Blog Posts > Wage Theft Costs West Virginia Workers Millions Annually
August 30, 2019

Wage Theft Costs West Virginia Workers Millions Annually

Wage theft is one of the most prevalent but under-reported problems confronting low-wage workers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the estimated value of wages stolen through violations of federal and state minimum wage laws was $15 billion in 2015, easily eclipsing the $12.7 billion stolen through all reported robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and car thefts in the same year. And that number represents just one form of wage-theft violation.

A report released this week written by Summer Research Associate Matthew Massie, Wage Theft in West Virginia: Solutions for a Hidden Epidemic, analyzes how wage theft has impacted workers in the Mountain State.

From 2008-2017, $7.7 million in back wages were recovered in more than 15,000 cases of wage theft in West Virginia. Based on national estimates, West Virginia workers likely lost as much as $90 million to minimum wage violations in 2015.

Nationally, female workers are more likely than male workers to experience wage theft, and African American workers suffer wage theft at three times the rate suffered by white workers.

West Virginia lawmakers can help stop wage theft by eliminating the separate tipped minimum wage, requiring treble damages for violations, and penalizing employers by revoking their ability to do business in or with the state.

Read full report.


West Virginia’s Tax Cut Experiment Has Failed

It has been 12 years since West Virginia began its tax cut experiment, phasing out the business franchise tax and cutting the corporate net income tax rate from 9% to 6.5%, and nearly 5 years since the cuts have been fully in place.

We’ve learned that business tax cuts aren’t likely to work when it comes to creating jobs. Read Sean’s blog post to find out if the full effect of the tax cuts has created jobs in West Virginia (spoiler: the title of this article sort of gives things away).

Women’s Equality Day: Equal Pay and Paid Leave Needed

Despite some gains breaking into male-dominated fields and careers, women are still paid significantly less than their male counterparts. The gender wage gap is the result of interconnected factors including gender and racial discrimination, workplace harassment, job segregation, and a lack of workplace policies that support family caregiving. Though some of the contributing factors like job segregation and harassment are sticky problems with more opaque solutions, implementing family-friendly work policies is much easier and is good for workers and businesses alike. Read Kelly’s full op-ed in Sunday’s Beckley Register-Herald.

In 2017, women in West Virginia were paid, on average, 74 percent of what men made. The pay gap is worse for women of color, with black women making 63 percent and Latina women making 60 percent of what their male counterparts made.

These numbers are stark, but even they don’t tell the whole story. Because family caregiving responsibilities are most often borne by women, working full-time over a lifetime is not possible for many women.


SNAP Benefits Vital to West Virginia Families

Please take a moment to comment on a proposed change to a key SNAP (food stamps) rule which, if implemented, would take away basic food assistance from an estimated 3.1 million people, mainly working families with children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

SNAP helps struggling West Virginia families put food on the table for their kids. Please comment today!

Comments due September 23.

Quick Policy Change to Feed West Virginia’s Children

A policy legislators could pass immediately would enact summer feeding programs for next year. The bill has already passed the House of Delegates unanimously and the Senate could pass it during upcoming interim meetings.

Read more in this week’s Charleston Gazette-Mail editorial which cites the WVCBP’s work and urges legislators to take action.


West Virginia Medicaid Summit: September 10

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care invites you to sponsor the Medicaid Matters for West Virginia Summit.

This one-day event will cover Medicaid topics of importance and will allow attendees to share concerns, issues and opportunities in West Virginia.

Register here.

Food for All Conference: October 12

Join us October 10 in Summersville, WV for the 2nd annual Food for All conference. This has been a landmark year addressing food insecurity in West Virginia and we are excited to reflect and plan for the year to come.

Register here!

A Couple of Our Tweets This Week
(follow us @WVCBP)

As Labor Day approaches, new data from @CenterOnBudget highlights the top occupations that would benefit from the Working Families Tax Relief Act. These workers- many in the service sector- often work for low pay and few benefits, and they deserve better.

According to @CDCgov nearly 1/4 of West Virginians 45 years or older report having caregiving responsibilities for a family member or friend, the 10th highest rate in the nation. Paid leave would help ensure these adults don’t have to choose between caregiving duties and a job.


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