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Chief Diaz speaks at Wage Theft press conference

Earlier this morning Mayor Mike McGinn, City Attorney Peter Holmes, Councilmember Tim Burgess, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and Casa Latina worker member Joel Coronado were at Casa Latina speaking in support of Seattle’s New Wage theft ordinance.  Here is what he had to Chief Diaz had to say:

Thanks to everyone who was involved in passing the necessary ordinance that has made Wage Theft an enforceable law violation in the City of Seattle.  When people think of crimes that Seattle Police investigate, they may think of auto theft, burglary, robbery or car prowl.  I am very pleased to add a new one to that list:  Wage Theft.  Wage theft is the deliberate and intentional failure to make full and complete payment to an individual for work performed under an agreement.  It is hard to imagine putting in a full days work, a full weeks work or a full months work in support of self and family only to realize that your employer never intended to pay you.  We all know that to be wrong, on many different levels, but up until now it wasn’t a crime.  To those that hire workers and then refuse to pay them for honest labor, consider yourself on notice.  To those workers who have had their wages stolen from them, we urge you to call the Seattle Police Department to make a report.  We will document and investigate these cases just as if they were any other theft.  We do not want anyone to be discouraged from reporting wage theft out of fear that their immigration status would be questioned.  The Seattle Police Department has a policy that prohibits this.  Thanks to all who have made it possible for the Seattle Police Department to have a role in filling this gap.  I look forward to working with City Attorney Peter Holmes to ensure that any violations are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

Chief Diaz prepares to give his remarks