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In its first year, the county prosecuted over 600 claims of stolen wages, and recovered over $1.7 million in illegally withheld pay.180 Based on this success, Broward County adopted a similar statute, and the model seemed poised to spread across the state.

Indiana, which had already eliminated most collective bargaining rights for state employees in 2006, adopted new legislation that prohibits even voluntary agreements with state employee unions.6 7 Note: This figure does not take account of states that enacted laws concerning public employees' wages and benefits, restrictions on public employees' union dues deductions, or restrictions on teachers' rights to tenure or seniority.

In the case of Maine, the state legislature passed laws restricting the collective bargaining rights of certain private-sector employees who are covered under state labor law (see endnotes 3 and 4 for more detail).

In the past two years, these efforts were most highly visible in Florida.

Ohio’s General Assembly, for instance, voted to completely eliminate funding for labor inspectors in 2011, leaving no staff to enforce state minimum-wage, overtime, child labor, or prevailing wage laws.

By 2008, the number of laws that inspectors are responsible for enforcing had grown dramatically, but the number of inspectors per worker was less than one-tenth what it had been in 1941, with 141,000 workers for every federal enforcement agent.167 With the current staff of federal workplace investigators, the average employer has just a 0.001 percent chance of being investigated in a given year.168 That is, an employer would have to operate for 1,000 years to have even a 1 percent chance of being audited by Department of Labor inspectors.

Budget cuts and political choices have exacerbated this crisis even further at the state level.

ver the past two years, state legislators across the country have launched an unprecedented series of initiatives aimed at lowering labor standards, weakening unions, and eroding workplace protections for both union and non-union workers.