Michael Felsen & M. Patricia Smith

Michael Felsen recently retired as regional solicitor of labor, following a 39-year career with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor in Boston. He currently consults on worker protection strategies with governmental and non-profit organizations.

M. Patricia Smith is a senior fellow with the National Employment Law Project.  She previously served as U.S. solicitor of labor with the Obama administration, and as commissioner of labor for the State of New York. 

Recent Articles

Wage Theft Is a Real National Emergency

Trump fails to confront the ongoing crises facing low-wage workers while stoking fears about threats that do not exist.

As President Trump scrambles to convince us that not having a wall is suddenly a “national emergency,” progressive lawmakers and advocates have pointed out that the most dire emergencies facing the U.S. are the imaginary and real crises manufactured by Trump himself. One case in point is wage theft, or more specifically, the endemic cheating of workers in low-wage industries out of their pay. This ubiquitous, under-the-radar problem has only gotten worse in response to the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies and talking points crafted in response to problems that do not exist. It’s no secret that traditionally low-wage industries in the United States—including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and service industries—have long relied heavily on immigrants, many of whom lack immigration status or work authorization. In November 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that in 2016, there were 10.7 million undocumented workers in...