Listen!

By Elizabeth Palmberg 09-04-2009

A just-released study of low-wage workers in the U.S. has found that an appalling 68% were forced to work extra unpaid hours, were paid less than the legal minimum wage, or suffered some other pay violation -- and that's just in the week before each person was surveyed.

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.

As James 5:4 puts it, "Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out!" Do you know if the clothes you are wearing are sweatshop-free?

Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners.

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