February 22, 20179:39 AM CST
BY BARB KUCERA
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Workers and communities suffer – and businesses face unfair competition – when companies cheat their employees through wage theft, Minnesota advocates told lawmakers at a mid-February hearing at the state capitol in St. Paul. They called on the legislature to pass measures to strengthen enforcement against this widespread problem.
“If you work for a living, you should get paid!” said Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, one of the authors of the anti-wage theft legislation. Several legislators, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and state Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson listened as workers described how their paychecks have been stolen by unscrupulous employers.
One of the most egregious current examples is Lakeville Motor Express, a trucking firm that allegedly changed its name and location to avoid paying thousands of dollars to its workers. Their union, Teamsters Local 120, is leading an effort to recoup what was lost.
“We are union strong and we are here to fight for our rights!” said Samuel Nunn, one of the 95 affected workers.