We represent a group of businesses writing to express our concern over the illegal practice and epidemic of wage theft in our county. We call on you to take action to make Shelby County a place where work is honored and wage theft is not tolerated. As ethical business owners, we know that our commitment to our employees is vital to our own economic stability. We urge you to vote for the proposed wage theft ordinance because:
• Wage theft creates an income loss for the overall Shelby County economy by reducing consumption. When workers are paid all that they are owed, they will spend most of those extra wages here in Shelby County.
• Tax-payers and the government are currently paying for the crime of wage theft when workers are forced to rely on public services after having their wages stolen.
• Wage theft undermines the ability of responsible businesses to compete. The repercussions of wage theft are county-wide and affect business owners, consumers, and workers alike. Employers paying the required minimum wage and overtime wages cannot successfully compete with businesses that make a profit by not paying their workers what they are owed.
We believe that the Shelby County Commission can take action to level the playing field for responsible businesses by passing the wage theft ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Steve Mulroy and Councilman Myron Lowery. The solution they propose is streamlined and simple for both employees and businesses. It avoids the complicated and sometimes burdensome process currently used by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As a business friendly community we cannot allow wage theft to continue. We believe in an ethical, pragmatic, and profitable approach to doing business that benefits employers, employees, consumers, and the community. We thank you for taking the time to consider this important issue and we urge you to pass the Shelby County wage theft ordinance with penalties for unscrupulous employers.