A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Wage Theft Woes in Houston

Houston business owner Lowell Daniel offers contracting services in landscaping, irrigation, and drainage.  He has heard horror stories from some of the workers he has employed about the mistreatment and wage theft that they have suffered from other contractors while trying to earn a living for themselves and for their families.

Disturbed by the injustice some of these workers had faced, Mr. Daniel attempted to “call out” some of the dishonest contractors by informing the customers who had hired them that those contractors had not paid the workers who actually performed the work for the customers.  Daniel explained that the workers had agreed to do the grueling work for a lower fee than many workers would require, and that they were not even paid that lower amount.  Another instance he was told about was a case where some of the workers had been taken from Houston to a farm in Louisiana in order to harvest sweet potatoes.  Not only were the workers treated abominably throughout the harvest, when they were brought back to Houston, they were abandoned beside the highway without their full promised wages and left with no option but to walk the rest of the way home.

In the following video, Mr. Daniel concludes his remarks with a comment about this kind of abuse being aimed toward workers who may have questionable legal immigration statuses.  “If you are taking something from someone who has performed a valuable service for you, that you promised to pay them for, that’s stealing.”

These examples highlight the prevalence of wage theft in the construction industry, and the need for responsible citizens to call for an end to this unjust practice.


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Anonymous's picture

Thank you for sharing your experience. Wage theft is all too common in Houston! It's important to have responsible business owners raising their voices. Folks can check out the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice's Wage Theft Report at http://www.hiwj.org/images/stories/wage_theft_report__11.16.10.pdf

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