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Document: Brennan Center Review of Wage Theft Literature

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Document: Dathan Williams Charging Information, King Co. Superior Court, Oct. 2013

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Document: Why Complain? Complaints, Compliance and the Problem of Enforcement in the U.S. Workplace, Weil & Pyles, 2005

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Document: Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers, NELP, 2009

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Document: Wage Theft and Workplace Violations in Los Angeles, UCLA, 2010

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Member Exclusive: Fishing for answers in Duwamish River records

We just published our latest SIDEBAR — an exclusive monthly dispatch from inside our newsroom just for InvestigateWest members.

For August we have a piece by Executive Director Robert McClure about getting, and not getting, government records into the public eye:

State and federal freedom-of-information laws give investigative journalists a look behind the curtain at the internal workings of government. An essential tool, they allow us to help the public better understand what government is doing and saying on its behalf.

The people can better govern their governors, in other words.

So we were recently taken aback by how many documents the City of Seattle and King County withheld in one of our latest rounds of Freedom Of Information requests. The sheer volume of records withheld suggests an epic legal battle brewing over the Duwamish River cleanup.

To read the rest...

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Member Exclusive: Seattle's historic minimum wage

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Every month we send InvestigateWest members an exclusive dispatch from inside our newsroom.

We call it SIDEBAR. Tucked inside is an essay from one of our reporters, a follow-up report on something we published, previews of investigations-in-progress, or other original content. If that sounds like the kind of thing you like, we invite you to join InvestigateWest and support independent, consequential journalism in the Pacific Northwest.

This month, reporter Allegra Abramo introduces a project she’s been working on this summer:

Worker advocates applauded last month when the Seattle City Council voted to phase in a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. But some worry the law won’t be vigorously enforced. They’ve seen too many workers struggle for justice after being cheated out of their wages.

It’s a topic Diego Rondón Ichikawa knows well. He is a staff attorney with the National Employment Law Project and founder of the Wage Justice Project.

“What Seattle did was historic,” he told me in an interview last month, “but it’s also important to make sure these workers are getting what they deserve under the law..."

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State delayed years on toxic fish; Inslee to outline his plan today

A 'Healthy Choice' program brochure advising consumers about safe fish consumption.
Credit: Washington Department of Health

Ten minutes and four slides. That’s what a Washington Department of Health staffer responsible for warning the public about contaminants in fish was allotted to impress then-Health Secretary Mary Selecky about the importance of the issue.

Lots of luck, warned former Department of Health toxicology chief Rob Duff — Selecky and her crew are “skeptics” who “are not very interested” in environmental health.

And yet, wrote Duff: “If not DOH, who?”

That was early 2008. In the months that followed, Health Department staffers would continue to raise contaminated fish as a public health issue, records and interviews show.  Among their concerns: a long-known error in the state formula that controls how much toxic pollution can be dumped into waterways by factories, sewage-treatment plants and other polluters.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has since repeatedly warned the state to fix the error.

Now, a year and a half into the Inslee administration, the governor is scheduled to announce his plan today in Olympia.