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Every year nearly 6,000 American workers are killed on the job and many more are bilked out of an estimated $19 billion in wages by their employers. Unfortunately, workers do not have the protections they need and deserve because President Bush’s Department of Labor has failed to effectively police low-road employers, and unions—which give workers a voice on the job and help to ensure laws are followed—have been under attack and therefore shrinking in size.
Laws exist to protect workers from unsafe working conditions and employer wage theft. Unions lobbied hard and won comprehensive wage-protection laws passed during the FDR administration and occupational safety laws enacted during the early 1970s. Minimum wage and overtime rules, anti-discrimination laws, and workplace safety standards create a guaranteed floor for all American jobs. They also require the Department of Labor to police American workplaces and penalize scofflaw employers.This article was originally published in .