The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Bosses Get Away with Wage Theft

Jun 12, 2023

A San Francisco Superior Court judge recently ruled that the Marriott Hotel committed wage theft by illegally pocketing tips customers had left for workers during banquets between 2012 and 2017. The judge ordered the hotel to pay the 9 million dollars it owes to hundreds of workers.

But just because the workers won in court, it doesn’t mean they will get their money.

In a similar case in 2019, a Philadelphia restaurant owner named Kwang Bun Kim settled a federal wage theft case by agreeing to pay one million dollars in back wages, fees and tips. But four years have gone by, and the 200 former workers of the restaurant still have not gotten a penny. In 2020, the federal government even filed a one-million-dollar lien against the properties Kim owns, but Kim is apparently able to use a Pennsylvania law that jointly-owned properties (such as owned by Kim and his wife) cannot be seized to pay a debt.

In capitalist society, laws and legalities offer all kinds of ways for bosses to break their agreements with workers and get away with it. The workers’ only recourse is in their own ability to spread the fight.