Monday, June 20, 2005

A different kind of tax: back in the day, DLSE investigative staff (LSI, SSI, DLC, IRR, MST) went out and did audits of companies. If they found that wages were owed to the employees, then reparations would be made. None of those wages is ever kicked-back to the government, but sometimes they go into the unclaimed wage fund. Time and resources must be devoted to this type of investigation. Nowadays, there is a different priority, and that priority is issuing the maximum amount of citations. When citations are paid, it goes into the government's general fund. The same amount of time and resources must be devoted to this: issuing the citations, preparing for & attending citation appeal hearings, payment & citation reconciliation, and civil judgments entered for failure to pay the citations. When management issues their priorities, it's not up to us to challenge it: we just do what we're told. What is disturbing is the high number of citations that are appealed, then lost by the government. What is even more disturbing is the high amount of citations that go uncollected: either they go to appeal and are lost, or they're not appealed and ignored. Want proof? Request a Public Records Act (PRA) and mail it to: Thomas Grogan-Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, PO Box 420603; San Francisco, CA 94142. Specifically, you'll request the amount and types of citations within a given time period, like two years. This will give you the total monetary amount issued via the citation. Next, you'll request the amount of money that has been recorded on the DLSE Form 994 during the same time period and compare the citation amount issued to the citation amount collected. You can also request which citations were entered as civil judgements and compare that to the citations that were originally issued. If you really want to compare, then you can request which citations were appealed and subsequently upheld in the government's favor. You can compare peace officers to non-peace officers, but don't be surprised at what you'll find. This type of priority can assist Arnold's budgetary constraints (money actually comes into the state's coffers), but the flip side of this coin is that Californians who need their wages might not ever see the wages owed to them.


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