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Honor the Day: Get Obama’s Labor Nominees through the Senate

Two of Obama’s labor nominees, Patricia Smith for Department of Labor Solicitor and Lorelei Boylan to run the Wage and Hour division, are stuck in the Senate because of Senator Mike Enzi’s obstructionism.

These appointments come at a crucial time. A recent report indictated that 68% of low-wage workers have been cheated out of pay in the last week:

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.

The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.

Even people lucky enough to have jobs in this economy are feeling the pinch, and employers are actively cheating them out of their wages. And Mike Enzi is blocking the nomination of people to fix the problem, even as the Labor Department plans a ramp-up in enforcement.

Today, as we all remember that the American worker is what made this country what it is, take a moment and write the members of the Senate HELP committee and tell them to move these nominations along.

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.