DENVER (CBS4) – This Labor Day Weekend members of Denver’s faith community addressed the issue of wage theft.

Unpaid overtime, tips withheld and working off the clock are all considered forms of wage theft.

One metro area group says U.S. workers are losing out on billions of dollars each year.

“Every person has the right to a job with a living wage,” Pastor William Morris with the Burns Memorial United Methodist Church said. “We believe that persons come before profits.”

On this Sunday morning, Labor Day and what it stands for was part of the program at Burns Memorial United Methodist Church in Aurora.

Wage theft occurs when unethical employers under pay or refuse to pay workers all the money owed to them.

“It happens through not paying minimum wage, workers not being paid time-and-a-half for overtime,” Daniel Klawitter said.

Klawitter says it’s a growing problem nationally.

“Wage theft is illegal,” he said.

He is part the nonprofit group FRESC, which focuses on the needs of low and middle income workers.

“The Economic Policy Foundation, which is a business funded think tank, found $19 billion a year in unpaid overtime they think is owed to workers,” Klawitter said.

The group behind the wage theft concerns hopes their message extends beyond churches and synagogues and makes it to Colorado’s state Capitol for the next legislative session.

“Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, it doesn’t really matter,” Klawitter said. “This should be about doing the right thing for working folks.”

Legislation could focus on beefing up wage theft enforcement and resources for responding to complaints.



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