After the Debates Tonight …
BLOG | OCTOBER 3, 2012 – 10:22AM | BY TED TAYLOR, Eugene Weekly Editor-In-Chief
This evening after the presidential debates, Ramon Ramirez of PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union, will speak on the topic of “Worker Justice and Wage Theft in Oregon.”
Ramirez will speak at a free bilingual event from 7:30 to 9 pm Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Temple Beth Israel, corner of University Street and East 29th Avenue in Eugene.
Event sponsors are Temple Beth Israel, Beyond Toxics, ESSN, Lane County Immigration Integration Network, Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics and the UO Labor Education Research Center.
Ramirez is the president of PCUN and “struggled alongside Cesar Chavez in the California grape strikes of the 1960s and 1970s,” say organizers. “He has a deep history in the workers justice movement in the Pacific Northwest.
The event notice email goes on to say:
“The ethics of social justice, cooperation and human dignity form the framework for learning about the widespread and illegal practice of not paying workers for their work. Oregonians are coming together to call for fair and sustainable agriculture policies.
“Wage theft is the widespread and illegal practice of refusing to pay workers for all or part of their work. Wage theft happens with employers pay less than the minimum wage, don’t pay overtime, steal tips, require employees to work ‘off the clock,’ or fail to pay at all.
“In a recent five-year period, over 8,000 wage claims were filed with Oregon’s state labor bureau, totaling $24.5 million. This represents only a fraction of the actual incidents of wage theft —thousands more go unreported. In a national study, two-thirds of low-wage workers reported having been victims of wage theft in the last week!
“This widespread problem often flies under the radar — but has a huge impact on the workers who don’t get paid, as well as on other workers whose standards are undermined, honest employers who have to compete with scofflaws, communities robbed of local spending, and taxpayers who have to make up for the taxes that can’t be collected on unpaid wages.”