Employment Resources

We Need Just Jobs: A Primer on Wage Theft

A national movement of workers and worker advocates against wage theft has been growing and expanding. Labor unions, workers centers, community organizations, faith groups, ethical businesses, lawyers, policy advocates, enforcement agencies, and progressive legislators at the federal, state, county and local levels have stepped up to shine a light on this issue and create solutions. The good news about wage theft is that we can stop it.

– Interfaith Worker Justice


Hotel workers shorted on pay, feds say

December 15, 2016 – The Houston Chronicle – By L.M. Sixel
A federal investigation into pay practices at hotels in the Houston and Galveston area uncovered widespread violations of wage and hour laws, including working off the clock and failing to pay employees for mandatory training time.

Thousands of unauthorized workers seek the American Dream in Galveston County

December 3, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Tom Bassing
Those in the hospitality industry — Galveston’s economic mainstay — contend that hiring isn’t as simple as posting a help wanted sign.

Injunction puts employers’ overtime plans on hold

December 3, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Valerie Wells
Many companies prepared to comply with a new overtime pay regulation are leaning toward staying with their old practices since a federal court blocked its implementation.

 National employment paradox playing out locally

December 1, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Leonard Woolsey
Galveston, with an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, has an employment problem. In a series of investigative reports last week, The Daily News revealed the seemingly odd bedfellows of workers unable to find work and employers struggling to find qualified candidates.

 Program aims to connect benefit recipients with jobs that work

November 26, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By John Wayne Ferguson
At the Galveston Housing Authority, a federal initiative called the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, aims to increase the financial literacy of housing authority residents and reduce or eliminate their need for welfare assistance.

Seasonal workers struggle to find jobs

November 23, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Matt Degrood
The unemployment rate in Galveston currently hovers about 4.4 percent. Yet numerous business around the island and county are concerned with not being able to find enough workers to fill open positions. How can this be?

Employers can’t find workers, workers can’t find jobs

November 23, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Valerie Wells
Galveston employers say they can’t find enough people to hire, yet there are plenty of unemployed residents. The conundrum arises from a reliance on foreign seasonal workers through the J1 visa program and a need for skilled workers.

The claim that if wages go up, jobs will go down is not a theory – it’s a scam

October 5, 2016 – PBS Newshour – By Nick Hanauer
The claim that if wages go up, jobs go down isn’t a description of reality at all. It is a negotiating strategy used by employers to keep wages down and profits high, writes billionaire venture capitalist and $15 minimum wage proponent Nick Hanauer.

What’s causing real-wage stagnation in the US?

September 30, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Michael A. Smith
Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce spun up a minor squall last week by joining a lawsuit fighting a federal rule governing how employers determine which employees earn a salary, meaning they don’t get overtime pay for hours past 40 in a work-week, and which do get paid at a rate at least 1.5 times higher for those extra hours.

Bulletin Board photograph of attendees at the Living Wage Conference

September 29, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – Bulletin Board – Photography By Jennifer Reynolds
Attendees of the fourth annual Living Wage Conference read through handouts from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division on Monday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Galveston.

Bulletin Board photograph of the Religious Panel at the Living Wage Conference

September 28, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – Bulletin Board – Photography By Jennifer Reynolds
The Rev. Freda Marie Brown, center, executive director at St. Vincent’s Episcopal House, gives an anecdote on fair pay Monday during a panel discussion with the Rev. Ray Pinard, left, of Moody memorial First United Methodist Church, and the Rev. E. R. Johnson, with Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church at the fourth annual Living Wage Conference.

Dozens gather for living wage conference

September 27, 2016 – The Galveston County Daily News – By Marissa Barnett
People gathered Monday night to hear from local advocates and leaders about increasing low income workers’ wages — an issue that’s long sparked national debate and heated up in Galveston where service related jobs dominate.

Island chamber joins lawsuit challenging White House on overtime pay

The Galveston County Daily News – 22 September 2016 – By Laura Elder
The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce this week joined other business organizations and tradegroups in a lawsuit challenging the White House’s new white­collar overtime rule, which would make millions of Americans eligible for overtime pay.

Don’t seal borders, give Americans a raise

The Houston Chronicle – 17 September 2016 – By Chris Tomlinson 
One of the most confusing aspects of this presidential race is the conservative cognitive dissonance of opposing global trade to protect American workers, but then refusing to raise the minimum wage.


The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team. 2016. Report on the Impact of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Ordinance on Wages, Workers, Jobs, and Establishments Through 2015. Seattle. University of Washington.

Executive Summary

This report presents the short-run effects of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance on the Seattle labor market. The Seattle Minimum Wage study team at the University of Washington analyzed administrative records on employment, hours, and earnings from the Washington Employment Security Department to address two fundamental questions:

1) How has Seattle’s labor market performed since the City passed the Minimum Wage Ordinance, and particularly since the first wage increase phased in on April 1, 2015?

2) What are the short-run effects of the Minimum Wage Ordinance on Seattle’s labor market?

Raise wages, kill jobs? Seven decades of historical data find no correlation between minimum wage increases and employment levels

National Employment Law Project – May 2016 – By Paul K. Sonn and Yannet M. Lathrop
Since the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, business interests and conservative politicians have warned that raising the minimum wage would be ruinous. To the contrary, in the substantial majority of instances (68 percent) overall employment increased after a federal minimum-wage increase.

Could you survive on $7.25 an hour?

The Galveston County Daily News – 6 April 2016 – By Steve McIntyre
Over the last couple of weeks, we have watched the political efforts of the working poor succeed as they have obtained a minimum wage of $15 an hour in New York and California, the 15th and ninth largest economies in the world.

California’s $15-an-hour wage could help workers but cost jobs

The Houston Chronicle-Associated Press – 28 March 2016
A political deal to raise California’s minimum wage to a nation-leading $15 an hour could help some workers cope with the state’s crushing cost of living but also deprive other low-wage earners of jobs altogether, economists said Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown and other leaders touted what would be a landmark agreement.

Ball High School program prepares students for restaurant, hospitality careers

The Galveston County Daily News – 24 March 2016 – By Laura Elder
Students early Tuesday morning watched as Kellie Rooks, a teacher’s aide, carefully folded egg-roll wrappers around ground sausage.

Looking at the causes and the possible solutions

The Galveston County Daily News – 12 March 2016 – By Leonard Woolsey
You’ve got to admit, it is odd when local businesses are struggling to find applicants to hire for open positions.

Give employees a reason to stay

The Galveston County Daily News – 14 March 2016 – By Melissa Guss
When I first saw the title “Nobody wants to work” (the Daily News, March 10) it touched me in a way that can only be described as utter disbelief.

Nobody wants to work?

Labor shortage puts strain on island restaurants

The Galveston County Daily News – 10 March 2016 – By Laura Elder
Sunday business was good last spring at Maceo Spice & Import Co. The specialty food store had begun serving beignets. People lined up for the deep-fried pastries and loaded up on spices, olive oils and other products while they waited.

But the scene was starkly different last Sunday.

Small-business owners ask New York to reject $15 minimum wage

The Houston Chronicle-Associated Press – 8 March 2016 – By David Klepper
Small-business owners struck back against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to implement a $15 minimum wage Tuesday, saying the Democratic governor’s call to enact what would be the highest state minimum in the country would devastate an already struggling economy.

Small Texas city adopts $15 minimum wage

CNHI News Service – 16 February 2016 – By John Austin
San Marcos, Texas: The fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage has been settled without recrimination in this swelling south-central Texas community, where LBJ Drive and MLK Drive intersect.

City Minimum Wage Laws: Recent Trends and Economic Evidence

NELP – National Employment Law Project – 75 Maiden Lane Suite 601 – New York NY 10038 – December 2015
NELP’s Minimum Wage Basics series sheds light on key issues related to the minimum wage drawing on the latest research and campaign developments.

Majority of county homes above poverty line according to UTMB wage study

The Galveston County Daily News – 21 October 2015 – By Joseph Baucum
“The majority of workers in south Galveston County, who are making less than $15 an hour, live in households above the poverty line, according to research conducted by University of Texas Medical Branch Professor Karl Eschbach.”

City of Dallas, county split on issue of ‘living wage’ for contractors’ workers

The Dallas Morning News – 20 October 2015 – By elizabeth Findell and Melissa Repko
Cities and counties across Texas can require vendors and contractors to pay a “living wage” to workers and can favor companies that pay higher wages when it comes to bids for government witk. Or they can’t.

Living wage matters to our community’s health

The Galveston County Daily News – 24 September 2015 – Guest Column – By Heber Taylor
“One of the most interesting discussions going on in Galveston is on the notion of a livable wage. Interest in the topic cuts across the political spectrum. Some people want to see a higher minimum wage for humanitarian reasons. they think it’s the right thing to do.”

Editorial: Fixing the income chasm in Houston is critical

The Houston Chronicle/Editorials – 17 July 2015
“Income inequality is glaringly apparent in Houston, and it needs to be addressed. A richly detailed July 4 article by Chronicle reporter Monica Rhor sketched in faces, lives and everyday experiences of those among us who struggle to support themselves and their families. She introduced us to Houstonians who have to decide at the grocery store, for example, between pork chops and chicken parts, who, living check to check, must forgo trips to the dentist, checkups at the doctor.”

It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage in Texas

Center for Public Policy Priorities – April 2015 – Garrett Groves, Jennifer Lee, and Katherine Strandberg
“Texans pride themselves on working hard and being self-sufficient. But too few workers and their families earn enough to escape poverty. Texas ranks near the worst states for working families, with 38 percent earning less than $47,000 per year for a family of four. If we want to live in a state where hard work means real self-sufficiency, then we need to raise the minimum wage in Texas.”

Living-wage movement is growing

The Galveston County Daily News – 29 December 2014 – By David Michael Smith
“Poverty-level wages are a grave problem for tens of millions of Americans. In the past few years, a new generation of low-wage workers has begun organizing for a living wage.”

Let cities set a minimum wage

The Galveston County Daily News – 9 December 2014 – By Norman Pappous
“Minimum wage is an important issue not for only the low-wage earner, but also for our society…”

Cities should set minimum wage

The Galveston County Daily News – 19 November 2014 – By Norman Pappous
“Do Texans want a smaller and more efficient government that supports a more transparent economy?…”

Gupta: More states should raise minimum wage on their own

The Houston Chronicle/Outlook – 8 October 2014 – By Vohra-Guptam, a research scientist for the Institute of Urban Policy Research and Analysis at The University of Texas at Austin.

Incomes haven’t risen for most in Houston, Census survey finds

The Houston Chronicle – 17 September 2014 – By Lomi Kriel

Evidence finds Inequality a major drag on economy

The Houston Chronicle Outlook – 8 August 2014 – By Paul Krugman

A New Report Argues Inequality Is Causing Slower Growth. Here’s Why It Matters

The New York Times – 5 August 2014 – By Neil Irwin, Edited by David Leonhardt

Workers shouldn’t have to fear wage theft

The Galveston County Daily News – 26 July 2014 – By Steve McIntyre

Is minimum wage hike just a baby step

National Catholic Reporter – April 30, 2014 – By Vinnie Rotondaro

Business and the MiniMum Wage

The New York Times – February 27, 2014 – By The Editorial Board

Minimum Wage Increase Would Have Mixed Effects, C.B.O. Report Says

The New York Times – February 18, 2014 – By Annie Lowrey

The Case for a Higher Minimum Wage

The New York Times – February 8, 2014 – By The Editorial Board

The Campaign for a Bigger Paycheck

The New York Times – January 1, 2014 – By The Editorial Board

We can do better for our janitors

The Houston Chronicle Outlook – June 1, 2012 – By Joseph A. Fiorenza (the seventh Bishop and the first Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, serving from 1985 to 2006)

Living Wage Calculations for Galveston County, Texas(English)

Cálculos de salario para el Condado de Galveston, Texas(Español)

In celebration of Labor Day, try this thought experiment

The Galveston County Daily News – September 2, 2013 – By Heber Taylor (English)

En Celebración del Día de Trabajo, Trate Este Experimento de Pensamiento

The Galveston County Daily News – 2 de Septiembre, 2013 – Por Heber Taylor (Español)

Could you do it?

The Galveston County Daily News – September 3, 2012 – By Heber Taylor (English)

Podria usted Hacerlo?

The Galveston County Daily News – 3 de Septiembre, 2012 – Por Heber Taylor (Español)

Can You Live on the Minimum Wage? (an interactive tool) This link directs you to The New York Times website

Jeremy Ashkenas of The New York Times has created an interactive calculator, for a single childless worker, which shows the hard choices that have to be made living on the smallest paychecks. (You will pick your state, and fill in your budgeted expenses; quite interesting results).

Economic Research: How Increasing Income Inequality is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, and Possible Ways to Change the Tide

At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold. Standard & Poor’s sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. – 5 August 2014 – Copyright © 2014 Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, a part of McGraw Hill Financial. All Rights Reserved.

The High Public Cost of Low Wages

Center for Labor Research and Education – U.C. Berkeley Labor Center – 13 April 2015 – By: Ken Jacobs, Ian Perry and Jenifer MacGillvary
“Even as the economy has at last begun to expand at a more rapid pace, growth in wages and benefits for most American workers has continued its decades-long stagnation. Real hourly wages of the median American worker were just 5 percent higher in 2013 than they were in 1979, while the wages of the bottom decile of earners were 5 percent lower in 2013 than in 1979. Trends since the early2000s are even more pronounced. Inflation-adjusted wage growth from 2003 to 2013 was either flat or negative for the entire bottom 70 percent of the wage distribution. Compounding the problem of stagnating wages is the decline in employer provided health insurance, with the share of non-elderly Americans receiving insurance from an employer falling from 67 percent in 2003 to 58.4 percent in 2013.”