There are certain professions in Oregon that are often the victims of unequal pay, low pay, and over work. The current provisions in the law are technically sufficient, but they may not be able to change the attitudes and practices of employers.
Some employers are good at identifying any loopholes and then exploiting them. That is why it is important for people within these professions or positions to have lawyers to defend them. This is at the heart of the collective bargaining ethos that has underpinned labor law in Oregon. However, the provisions of the current regime ensure that it is possible for individuals to sue and be sued. One does not need to be part of a recognized trade union in order to demand his or her rights under these laws. Unfortunately, some of the professions that are overworked and underpaid are the most important to the welfare of a community. A case in point is that of caregivers.
The Exploitation of Workers Under the Caregiver Contracts Model
These workers can operate under a number of arrangements depending on the market conditions. They can be agency workers that report to a certain marketing entity, which deducts a service fee from their wages. In this case, they have limited protections since they can be sacked at any point. Their ability to demand higher wages is limited by the fact that they are competing within a pool that is saturated.
Others move on to personal contracts as independent contractors. There are dangers in this too. First of all, the negotiations are undertaken between an individual employer and the employee. Both parties may not be aware or conversant in the latest rules on employment law in Oregon. Secondly, the possibilities of exploitation are increased since the worker is operating as a lone person against an employer that holds all the cards. Of course, in cases of abuses, the cards might be turned in that the employer is now the victim.
Understanding the Specific Concerns of Low-Paid Workers in Oregon
A number of bodies and institutions have worked toward developing an understanding of the kinds of challenges and opportunities Oregon workers face in the course of their careers. For example, Family Forward Oregon represents the employers, whereas SEIU is the dominant service workers’ union. Employees who feel that they are being exploited can turn to these institutions for additional assistance.
There is also a new project called Oregon CareWorks, which is involved in developing literature to expose the chronic low pay in the care community. Critically, this option also considers unpaid care work. That means that people who are outside of the formal economy can also advocate for their rights in Oregon. The hourly rate laws give local workers certain rights.
Exploitation in a Globalized Context
Nevertheless, this is not a problem that only affects the care economy. There are other service sector workers who continue to suffer low pay and unfavorable working conditions. Cruise liners and call centers are notorious for exploiting their workers.
For example, a cleaner on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship can anticipate a monthly wage of $550, which works out to about $1.75 an hour. That is not even considering the fact that their contracts may not offer a single rest day for up to nine months.
These are blatant abuses. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys for further support.