Unions want tougher laws against so-called wage theft issues

Published 8:15 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s leading labor unions are pushing for stiffer penalties against employers caught improperly withholding worker pay or skirting overtime requirements.

The Minnesota AFL-CIO and some union partners outlined an array of law changes Wednesday that they say would give employees more recourse. Advocates say the proposal being introduced soon at the Capitol would increase penalties on employers found to have violated pay laws and enable affected employees to recoup three times their lost wages.

The bill would allow for employees to file confidential complaints of so-called wage theft to be investigated by the Department of Labor and Industry.

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Labor groups could find a tougher time with their agenda this session because Republicans now have House control. Democrats still hold the Senate and governor’s office.