Survey finds 'wage theft' at Chinatown eateries
Friday, September 17, 2010
- Organization: San Francisco Chronicle
Chinatown restaurants routinely pay workers less than the minimum wage, according to a study by local activists that brings the national trend of so-called wage theft home to San Francisco.
The 30-page report being released today by the Chinese Progressive Association culminates a two-year survey of about 400 workers - more than half of whom said they were being paid less than the San Francisco minimum wage, currently $9.79 per hour.
"We believe this is the largest study of its kind in the country," said Meredith Minkler, a UC Berkeley public health expert who helped train workers from Chinatown to survey their peers to penetrate the language barrier.
The reported prevalence of minimum-wage avoidance among Chinatown restaurants goes well beyond the 26 percent rate that was reported in similar, earlier surveys of low-wage workers in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York that helped establish the concept of wage theft - the nonpayment by employers of legally required pay or benefits. (click on link to read full story)