One-Year Anniversary Report: National Wage & Hour Clearinghouse
Greetings from the National Wage & Hour Clearinghouse! It has been one year since we launched the Clearinghouse, and we write to update you with news, the status of the Clearinghouse membership and accomplishments, and what we foresee for the future. As always, we welcome suggestions and comments to make this a better and more useful endeavor.
Our launch in February 2008 had as its goal to create an online community to support and promote wage and hour policy and organizing campaigns, litigation, and public agency enforcement activities.
Here are the vital statistics:
- The web-based, password-protected Clearinghouse has over 750 documents consisting of model litigation and wage campaign materials, state and local legislative reforms, and industry-based research and data.
- The Clearinghouse has a over 400 members hailing from the constituencies we hoped to bring together: legal services and non-profits, the labor bar, private plaintiffs' (NELA) bar, worker centers, and academics.
- The listserv enables members to post queries and news to experienced plaintiffs' wage and hour litigators and organizers who are willing to serve as a resource for others in the national wage and hour community, and our Special Reports notify members about trends and innovations in the wage and hour field.
- The traffic increases each month. Monthly reports from our web provider show nearly 2,000 visits to the website, more than 400 document downloads, and close to 3,000 views of circulated materials (including news items and case summaries).
- The Clearinghouse Advisory Board, comprised of leaders from a variety of organizations, illustrates the depth and breadth of interest in this important movement to make work pay for workers and their families.
Over the past year, Clearinghouse staff has engaged in substantive work promoting issues of concern to the wage and hour community, including:
- Coordinating with NELA, the labor bar, and the legal services and worker center community to comment on the USDOL's proposed Fair Labor Standards Act regulations. The comments, joined by many Clearinghouse member organizations, were submitted in September. http://nelp.3cdn.net/9147564b4709d124c0_x7m6b56su.pdf The regulations will likely be withdrawn by DOL.
- Issuing several Special Reports on cutting-edge wage and hour issues, including a strategic collaboration to fight wage theft in Miami, Florida and campaigns to combat car wash worker wage and hour violations around the country.
- Advising at least 5 states on independent contractor legislative and agency reforms.
- Litigating wage and hour cases with partners like the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a case brought on behalf of immigrant residential construction workers who were not paid for work they performed in the Gulf coast. With SEIU, we co-authored an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court supporting PA's coverage of home health care workers under the state wage law, building on our co-counseled litigation against home health care agencies in Pennsylvania . See: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Justice/BayadaPressRelease.pdf
- Ensuring that the USDOL's Wage & Hour Division (WHD) delivers on its enforcement responsibilities, including gathering a USDOL advocacy group to ensure that the myriad proposals submitted to the WHD are implemented and prioritized. This Just Pay Coordinating Committee will provide the structure to enable deeper and ongoing reforms as the new WHD leadership begins its work.
Of course, we want to do more! The Clearinghouse was made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous donor, which we greatly appreciate. In order to continue to build and maintain it as a robust, up-to-date and useful forum, we need to raise substantial additional funds. This includes a combination of more members, more sponsors, more cy pres awards, and more donations and grants.
Here are some things you can do:
- If you haven't signed up yet, please do! Go to www.just-pay.org/join and become a member.
- Spread the word about the Clearinghouse: send an email to your colleagues (we can help draft one if you'd like); ask us for a copy of our brochure for use at conferences you attend, and mention the Clearinghouse when you present at conferences or to groups. The more members, the richer the exchanges we can have.
- Share your news about successful litigation, campaigns, or agency advocacy with us, and send us your model materials for posting in the Clearinghouse library.
- Give us your feedback on the Clearinghouse website itself, and how we might encourage more members and listserv traffic.
- Contribute to the Clearinghouse, just as several firms have, and see your name or your firm or organization's name in lights! Donations of a little as $1,000 get a mention on the front page of the Clearinghouse and can establish you as a leader in this important area of workers rights. Cy pres donations count, too!