Welcome to the DU Just Wages Project

Research. Outreach. Combatting Wage Theft.

A research and advocacy project to investigate, understand, and combat wage theft in the metro Denver area.

Imagine 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.

Since 2013, Dr. 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. In order to understand the larger holistic climate in which wage theft occurs, Dr. Galemba and her students conduct interviews with day laborers, employers in the construction industry, lawyers, legal agencies, politicians and non-profit stakeholders. They apply the research towards policy advocacy, collaborations with partner organizations, and activism alongside students and workers.

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Our Funders

This project has been generously supported at DU by IRISE, Korbel Research Fund, and a CCESL Public Good Grant. Externally, it has benefitted from funds from LRAN and partnership funding with Centro Humanitario from the Michael and Alice Kuhn Foundation.


Dr. Rebecca Galemba received the DU Public Good Faculty of the Year Award for the Just Wages Project in 2018 from the Center for Community Engagement to Advance Scholarship and Learning.

Dr. Rebecca Galemba received the 2022 Setha M. Low Award for Engaged Anthropology for the Just Wages Project from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Read more from the Josef Korbel School here.

Dr. Rebecca Galemba also received the 2023 Kate Browne Creativity in Research Award from the Society for Economic Anthropology for the Just Wages Project.

Contact Us

A special thank you to Samantha McGinnis and Bianca Garcia for the creation and update of this website.