Employers say they take care of their employees. Not always.

March 15, 2013 - 6:15pm

Business lobbies typically argue that laws are unnecessary since business people would never do the things that the laws attack.  Business leaders are responsible people and wouldn’t endanger workers, pollute, or steal.  And self-correcting markets wouldn’t allow that kind of behavior to survive. 

“Most businesses would tell you that they presently take care of their employees. They don't need government telling them how to do it” said Gary Chandler, vice president for governmental affairs at the Association of Washington Business arguing against a proposed Washington State Family and Medical Leave Law in April 2007.

“The very idea that [Washington] cares more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming” claimed Coal Company Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship in September 2009 just seven months before a disaster at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners.

But they do.  Markets allow employers to create dangerous workplaces, shoddy products and rob workers of hard earned wages.   That's why rules are necessary to stop employers who do pollute, exploit and steal.

Just this week, the LA Times reports that California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su fined Urasawa, the rave-inspiring Beverly Hills sushi restaurant where the average check is $1,111, is being fined $65,785 over labor violations. Three workers are owed $38,585 in unpaid wages after being told to work in excess of 10 hours a day without overtime pay, according to the citation. Urasawa was recently ranked as the second-most-expensive eatery in the country behind New York City's Masa.

And California officials also fined a Southern California hospital chain, Pacific Health Corp., more than $7 million for not paying employee wages and bouncing payroll checks.

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