Iowa Senate OKs bills on minimum wage, wage theft

POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015 5:13 PM | UPDATED: 5:13 PM, TUE FEB 24, 2015.



DES MOINES (AP) – The Iowa Senate voted Tuesday to raise the state’s minimum wage and try to curtail cases of wage theft.

By a 27-22 vote, the Senate approved increasing the minimum wage level to $8.75.

Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, said a minimum wage increase would help Iowa’s workforce.

“We are trying to build a high wage, high skill economy. We don’t want to become a regional haven for low wage employers,” he said in prepared remarks.

Senators also voted 26-23 to establish more rules to avoid alleged wage theft by employers.

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Iowa [Legislators] say wage theft bill would curtail fraud

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 7:57 am

DES MOINES (AP) – A bill introduced in the Senate would curtail wage theft in Iowa by requiring businesses to be more direct with workers about employment terms, Democrats said Tuesday.

Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, is co-sponsor of a measure that would require employers to share a written record of employment terms with an employee at the start of a job. Such an agreement would help the worker if there’s suspicion of wage theft in the future and the worker needs to file a formal complaint, Dotzler said.

“This legislation is common sense,” Dotzler said.

The bill would also define penalty terms and expand protection for whistleblowers. It’s identical to a bill that was introduced last session, according to Dotzler. That bill didn’t get very far, but he said he is hopeful a new legislature would seriously consider the latest measure.

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State Suspends Concrete Contractor After Price-Fixing Plea

A concrete contractor convicted of fixing prices for ready-mix concrete in Iowa can no longer receive contracts from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
This month’s MnDOT suspension order for GCC Alliance Concrete grew out of a federal probe that revealed four concrete makers in Iowa conspired for three years to fix prices and rig bids for contracts. The investigation sent at least two executives to prison, including former GCC sales manager, Steven VandeBrake, who is close to finishing a 48-month sentence.

Under state law, Minnesota has to cut ties with contractors convicted of crimes. The company itself was charged criminally (yes, that can happen) and pleaded guilty in 2011 to violating anti-trust laws. Its punishment: 18 months probation, as well as $100,000 in free concrete for the paving and masonry needs of local non-profit organizations.

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