SAN FRANCISCO --California's Targeted Industries Partnership Program (TIPP), a joint education and enforcement effort of state, federal and local government agencies, has collected $12.2 million in back wages for employees in the garment industry since the program began five years ago, announced John C. Duncan, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).
"The TIPP Fifth Annual Report shows encouraging results from our efforts to target and eliminate the unfair competitive advantage that noncompliant employers in the garment industry create for their law-abiding competitors," said Duncan.
In 1997, TIPP increased enforcement efforts in the garment industry by 77%. Reflecting the increase in the number of trained investigators, there was a total of 1,326 inspections in 1997, compared to 748 in 1996. TIPP also recovered $1,457,234 in wages for garment workers in 1997.
In the five year period between 1993 and 1997, TIPP has reaped $39.7 million dollars in benefits to California from corrupt employers in the garment industry.
In 1997, TIPP targeted employers in the garment industry who fed the underground economy, those who ignored minimum wage laws, registration and permit requirements, and failed to pay overtime wages. The results:
"TIPP targeted the worst violators," said Duncan. "Our stepped-up enforcement actions appears to have made at least some difference with the continued decrease in child labor violations along with decreases in minimum wage violations."
"We have recognized that effective enforcement depends on effective education of both employees and employers," said Duncan. "The success we have had to date is largely due to both the vision and persistence of California Labor Commissioner Jose Millan. In addition, TIPP has continued to expand its educational outreach before unannounced sweeps and work closely with employer organizations to improve compliance."
Following each sweep, TIPP also sponsors widely-advertised open forums for employers, employees and the interested public. A Garment Hotline (800-803-6650) has been established to accommodate employee grievances and for employees to report suspected violations.
TIPP combines and coordinates resources from state, federal and local agencies to enforce labor laws and educate employers and employees about those laws. The program was chosen in 1996 by the National Council of State Governments to receive its Innovations in Government Award, one of eight national winners recognized for establishing programs which effect an innovative approach to administration of state government.
TIPP was implemented in 1992 as a two-year pilot program but was extended indefinitely with a broadened jurisdiction following its immediate impact. The program's five lead agencies, California Division of Labor Standard Enforcement, California Employment Development Department, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), and U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, develop TIPP's agenda and recruit and coordinate other state and local agencies to participate in that effort. TIPP has coordinated up to 12 agencies in a single enforcement action.
Copies of the Fifth Annual Report can be obtained by request from the Department of Industrial Relations at 415-972-8844.