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A new impartial study confirms: stealing from their own workers and cheating on taxes is the business model for non-union residential construction in Massachusetts.
This is a known reality on jobsites, where labor brokers and “subcontractors” run schemes to defraud workers and taxpayers. Researchers have now verified these illegal actions. and have demonstrated that general contractors and developers likely know about the cheating that is going on.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
• Workers getting paid less than they’re promised, (if at all) not getting overtime pay, being paid in cash, with no benefits, no insurance and no safety standards.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
• Workers: Millions of dollars a year in lost wages. Tax liability. Workers’ comp to pay for injuries they suffer on the job. Unemployment when they are out of work.
• Contractors: A chance to honestly compete for work. Economic disadvantages for treating their employees well.
• Construction industry: Good workers that don’t want to deal with scams. Training programs that ensure safety and quality work.
• Communities: Good jobs. Respectable businesses. Hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to support first responders, schools and programs.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
• Bring these problems to the attention of the appropriate government agencies and urge greater investment in enforcement, with stiffer penalties for cheating.
• Pass laws that hold developers, general contractors, and subs liable for what happens on THEIR jobsites. They benefit, so they should follow the law and pay workers what they are owed.
• Regulate labor brokers as businesses.
• Reform Immigration policy to make it harder for employers to exploit workers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
• Learn who the real “boss” is.
• Keep a daily or weekly log of your hours and payments. Take pictures or make copies of checks.
• Talk to other construction workers about wages, rights and treatment on nonunion projects.
• Encourage workers to demand their wages and proper treatment, then stand with them.
• Use email@example.com to report problems, ask questions and get help filing claims.