What It Is

Wage theft is a practice by which a worker is denied access to their rightful wages or benefits. Wage theft is a highly prevalent and damaging form of labor exploitation that is under-scrutinized and under-reported, particularly in Alaska.

Specific numbers for all wage theft violations are extremely difficult to calculate, as cases of wage theft are severely underreported, although wage theft is estimated to cost workers in the U.S. at least $50 billion annually (source). Workers paid less than the legal minimum wage (a minimum wage violation) are, on average, cheated out of $64 a week, almost a quarter of their earnings (Cooper and Kroeger, 2017).

The Problem

What We’re Doing

First—we’re connecting people who have experienced wage theft to professionals who can help you find compensation. Contact us if you have experienced wage theft.

Now, AkPIRG has aggregated Alaska Department of Labor data from 2012-2018 in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau to look at current numbers of violations, including wage claims and collections as well as child labor law violations and workers’ comp. A wage claim is the wage demanded of a manager by the worker’s union. Wage collections are monetary remunerations for labor violations awarded to workers by their employers. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp) is a form of monetary compensation by employers for workplace related injuries.


Wage theft is not discussed often enough, but there are some good studies on its effect. Read one story about wage theft in Anchorage here, and one study on how stronger regulations reduce wage theft here.