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Korbel Latin America Center

Korbel Latin America Center

Just Wages Project

Just WagesImagine completing a day's worth of hard work. At the end of the day, you go to collect your money. But your boss is gone. Or your boss pretends not to know you. Or your boss fires you and refuses to pay you. Or you don't receive as much as you're owed. That's wage theft and it's what the Just Wages Project is documenting and fighting against. Public awareness is necessary to combat wage theft so that it is no longer accepted as tolerable or inevitable. 

About the Just Wages Project

Since January 2015, Professor Rebecca Galemba has been leading a research team of graduate students at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver to investigate day laborers' experiences with wage theft in the metro Denver area. Currently, Galemba and her team are beginning a survey—the "Just Wages Survey" —of 400 day laborers in Colorado based on their qualitative findings. Read more.

The Problem

Denver's population increase has led to a construction boom that has overwhelmed Denver's post-recession construction labor force. The 2008 crash led to large reductions in the workforce, and the industry has been unable attract enough workers to meet demand. As a result, many smaller operations depend on day laborers and other forms of immigrant labor, despite increased efforts on the part of the Colorado legislature to limit their use. Situations like this have led to a climate in which wage theft can go unchecked. Read more.


Click here to read stories of those who have been personally affected by wage theft. Click here to read the DU Just Wages Project @Korbel blog.


Click here to read the research conducted by the Just Wages Project team.

Full White Paper 2019

English 2-page report

Spanish 2-page report


The Colorado Wage Theft Task Force, El Centro Humanitario, CU Denver, The Josef Korbel School of International Studies, El Centro Humanitario, and Towards Justice announce the two-day Wage Theft Summit, November 10-11, 2016. Click here to RSVP and for a schedule of events and supporters. We are pleased to host expert Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America , for a talk on Friday November 11 from 6-8 p.m.


Contact Us

The project leaders, Professor Rebecca Galemba and Professor Raja Raghunath, have given presentations about their research to a variety of audiences, including Denver Public Schools, the Colorado Providers Integration Network, and the City of Aurora Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. They are available to present the project to service providers, employers, community members, and those affected by wage theft. Contact Rebecca or Raja to schedule an information session, legal intake clinic, or know-your-rights workshop.

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