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The crime costing LA $1.4 BILLION every year

Posted on 09/02/2023
Wage Theft is a crime


What Happened?

Yesterday, we introduced a motion with Councilmember Tim McOsker to go after what might be the biggest problem facing working people in LA that no one talks about – wage theft.

Angelenos lose an estimated $1.4 billion each year to stolen wages, drastically contributing to housing insecurity, homelessness and poverty in the city.

But right now, the city is unable to enforce most laws around wage theft, since prosecution is left up to the state government, whose agencies tasked with going after wage theft are drastically under-resourced. Our motion would empower the city to go after these malicious corporations, returning billions of dollars of hard-earned money to LA families.

Why it Matters

88% of low-wage workers in LA are victims of wage theft, adding up to an estimated 12.5% of their salaries lost to wage theft annually.

These are wages disproportionately stolen from women, people of color, and the poorest Angelenos – the same people that need our help the most.

Every year the City of Los Angeles loses more money to wage theft than we spend battling homelessness. And if you combine everything we spend as a city on unarmed alternatives to policing, senior meals, making City buildings emission-free, defending tenants against eviction, and renter support – all of that adds up to just a tenth of what Angelenos lose every single year to stolen wages.

What's Next?

Now that the motions have been introduced, they will be heard in the Civil Rights, Equity, Immigration, Aging, and Disability Committee, which I chair, before moving to the full City Council for a vote.

But the fight won’t stop there – stay tuned for more updates from our office about how we can tackle this massive problem that’s hurting workers in our city and worsening our homelessness crisis.

Three More Quick Hits!

1. Opening 59 New Apartments for Formerly Unhoused Seniors in Hollywood

On Thursday, we joined Mayor Bass and PATH for the opening of PATH Villas Hollywood – a 59 unit permanent supportive housing complex for formerly unhoused seniors.

Residents of this new housing complex will now be able to get mental health/addiction treatment, jobs programs, and everything they need to get on their feet. This is exactly the type of project we want to see more of, because there are thousands of people living on our streets who want this assistance - we just need to build these communities where they can thrive.

2. $150 Million Approved by City Council to Prevent Evictions

On Tuesday, City Council approved spending $150 million in Measure ULA funds so we can keep vulnerable families in their homes and off the streets.

District 13 alone has experienced over 5,200 evictions just between February and July, so this assistance is absolutely critical if we want to keep our homelessness crisis from worsening even further.

3. Help the City Provide High-Quality Child Care

The City of Los Angeles Community Investment For Families Department (CIFD) has launched the Child Care Policy and Equity unit to increase opportunities for the over 200,000 children ages 0-5 currently living in the City.

The unit helps families access high-quality child care and supports providers in strengthening their businesses. We ask you to participate in CIFD’s brief, 5-minute survey that helps learn about the needs of families and how the City can provide support.

Fill out the survey here: