The Memphis Flyer published Donati Law attorney Bryce Ashby’s article about the anti-living wage bill passed by Tennessee state legislature on March 28, 2013. The article, Living Wages, recognizes the detrimental effect this law has on low wage workers in our communities. The legislation eliminates the right of cities and municipalities to prescribe wage standards above the federally mandated minimum wage. Furthermore, the legislation prevents any city or county from passing future “wage-theft” legislation, which are local ordinances that provide avenues for workers to recover unpaid wages from unscrupulous employers.
“Wage theft, defined as any instance whereby a worker is denied the pay that he or she has earned under state or federal law, occurs with alarming frequency. Two out of three low-wage workers claim to have suffered some form of wage theft at the hands of their employers. Wage theft targets the poor, the undereducated, and immigrants, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck.”
Ashby and co-author Michael LaRosa propose an alternative this anti-worker legislation: “Pass a state minimum-wage requirement that guarantees workers a living wage and adjusts for inflation. This would provide individuals with an incentive to work, stimulate the economy by putting more money into the pockets of workers who tend to spend more of their earned income, and put workers more clearly in command of their own destinies.” [click to view full text >>>]
Ashby has worked extensively with Memphis's Latino and immigrant communities, and he currently sits on the board of Latino Memphis. Ashby concentrates his law practice in the areas of employment law, personal injury, workers' compensation and immigration law, with an emphasis on representing Spanish-speaking clients.
Ashby co-authored Living Wages with Michael J. LaRosa, an associate professor at RhodesCollege specializing in Latin American history.