Languages

You are here

News

City of Berkeley Enacts First of Its Kind Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance

  • admin
  • 21 July 2016

New Law Will Strengthen Wage Law Compliance on Large Construction Projects

BERKELEY, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Last night, the City of Berkeley approved a first-of-its-kind local ordinance aimed at preventing wage theft on local construction projects, Smart Cities Prevail announced today.

 

Authored by Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, co-sponsored by a majority of the Council and supported by construction industry trade associations and workers’ rights groups, the measure requires that developers and builders certify that all contractors performing work on large projects have complied with state wage and hour laws as a condition of winning a certificate of occupancy from the city.

Click to Read the Ordinance: http://www.stopwagetheftca.org/index.php/berkeleys-new-wage-theft-ordinance/.

“Enforcing wage laws is especially difficult in the construction industry, because unscrupulous contractors who cheat workers in order to win bids on large projects find ways of disappearing after the work is done,” said Smart Cities Prevail Policy Director Scott Littlehale. “By expanding transparency and accountability BEFORE a project is complete, Berkeley has taken an important step towards preventing wage theft and leveling the playing field for honest construction businesses competing for this work.”

“This measure links our city’s responsibility for determining whether a construction project is completed with the principle of ensuring those who did the work are paid the wages they earned,” added Berkeley City Council Member Laurie Capitelli. “Whether as workers, businesses or taxpayers, we are all impacted by wage theft in some way. But we are not powerless to stop it, and that’s why I hope that other communities will soon join Berkeley in taking action.”

Research shows that wage theft annually costs California taxpayers at least $8.5 billion in tax revenue, and costs workers billions more in lost income. Because state enforcement resources are limited, workers only file claims in a fraction of cases and less than 20 percent of adjudicated claims are ever paid. The problem is especially pervasive in lower wage occupations, including California’s construction industry.

Smart Cities Prevail is a leading construction industry research and advocacy organization. More information on us may be found at www.smartcitiesprevail.org, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SmartCitiesPrevail/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/cacitiesprevail.

StopWageTheftCA.org is a project of Smart Cities Prevail.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Todd Stenhouse, (916) 397-1131, toddstenhouse@gmail.com

 

*Editorial Note: above text based on press release, as provided by the news source: Smart Cities Prevail and was not created by CaliforniaNewswire.com.

Weakening Prevailing Wage Hurts Local Contractors

  • dgarcia
  • 13 July 2016

A case study from Southern Indiana demonstrates how weakening prevailing wage negatively impacts local contractors and local workers.

Out-of-state contractors benefited after Indiana weakened its prevailing wage law, according to a new Economic Commentary from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute.

Despite an emerging academic consensus that shows state prevailing wage laws have no discernible impact on project costs, lawmakers in Indiana weakened the state’s law – called Common Construction Wage – between 2012 and 2015. In 2013, the threshold for coverage was increased from $250,000 to $350,000, meaning that workers were no longer paid a prevailing wage rate on projects costing between $250,000 and $349,999.

Prior to raising its contract threshold to $350,000, hourly earnings for construction workers in Indiana were similar to all neighboring states except Kentucky. Economic research suggests that out-of-state contractors with lower-paid workers will flood the public construction market after a prevailing wage law is weakened. If true, the greatest threat to Indiana contractors would come from across its southern border in Kentucky, where construction workers earned $5 less per hour on average in July 2012.

IN-KY change1

Indiana’s southern border with Kentucky is thus a good case study on the local impact of weakening prevailing wages. There are 13 southern Indiana counties that border 14 northern Kentucky counties.

After weakening prevailing wage, employment in the heavy and civil engineering sector declined in Indiana’s southern-most counties but grew across the river in Kentucky border counties. After the Common Construction Wage threshold was raised, southern Indiana’s public works construction sector had an employment loss of 885 workers (21.2 percent). Meanwhile, public works construction employment increased by 770 workers (20.7 percent) in the Kentucky border counties.

IN-KY change2

The average monthly earnings of employees in heavy and civil engineering construction careers also declined after prevailing wage was weakened in the Indiana counties but increased across the river in the Kentucky counties. After adjusting for inflation, the county-level earnings of public works construction employees declined by $439 per month for the average Hoosier worker. At the same time, average earnings increased by $610 per month for comparable workers across the border in the Kentucky counties.

IN-KY change3

In this integrated regional economy along the Ohio River, the evidence suggests that out-of-state contractors from Kentucky with lower-paid construction workers were the real beneficiaries of Indiana weakening its prevailing wage law.

After Indiana weakened its prevailing wage law, higher-paid public works construction workers in the state’s 13 southern-most counties were replaced by lower-paid workers across the border in 14 Kentucky counties. The redistribution of jobs and earnings to Kentucky construction workers has an adverse impact on income tax revenues and sales tax revenues in Indiana.

This case study should be a cautionary note to lawmakers in states across the Midwest who are considering weakening their state’s prevailing wage.Prevailing wage is a policy that promotes high-road economic and community development. Weakening prevailing wage only hurts local contractors and workers.

Newburgh Groundbreaking Ceremony

  • dgarcia
  • 14 June 2016

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our Newburgh groundbreaking ceremony today! We had a great turnout. State and local elected officials, reps from Danco Construction LLc, apprentices, journeymen and IKORCC staff attended the event. The building is scheduled to be completed in February 2017.

“Today is a great day for the IKORCC as we break ground on a new facility. The commitment of our members to this organization and their careers makes this dream a reality. This new 12,000 sq. ft. office will be co-located with our Newburgh, IN training center, making it the 6th joint campus for the IKORCC. Our continued growth shows the community we are here to stay and we are here to help those who live here build a career in the trades. By co-locating our administrative functions with training, we are able to provide a one-stop shot to better provide access to our training for both members and contractors.” Mark McGriff, Executive Secretary Treasurer

Naples Business Owner Arrested for $700,000 Workers’ Compensation Fraud Scheme

  • dgarcia
  • 08 June 2016

Naples Business Owner Arrested for $700,000 Workers’ Compensation Fraud Scheme

Press Release, Florida Department of Financial Services

5-20-16

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the recent arrest of Raimundo Hernandez-Argueta, owner of Naples construction company Complete Framing Professionals (CFP). Following a joint investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud and Division of Workers’ Compensation, Hernandez was arrested on fraud charges for allegedly misrepresenting information regarding CFP’s employee operations and payroll when applying for a workers’ compensation policy. By doing so, Hernandez avoided at least $700,000 in workers’ compensation premium payments.

Read More>>                                                        

Investigators later discovered that Hernandez obtained a policy through Florida United Business Association providing coverage for four employees, each with an annual wage of $50,000. Hernandez paid $26,910 for this one-year policy. However, job site inspections documented 108 employees during that time frame and more than $5.5 million in total earnings, grossly lower than what was reported to the company’s insurance carrier.

As a result of his misrepresentations, Hernandez was able to illegally avoid paying more than $700,000 in workers’ compensation premium dues.

Floor Covers volunteer for Indy 500 Festival Parade

  • dgarcia
  • 03 June 2016

If you ever get a chance to visit the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade during the race weekend, you may want to take notice of the carpet installation that is a city block long and on both sides of the main grandstands. For the last 15 years, Superior Carpet and union floor covers have had a long standing tradition of volunteering the installation of the carpet runs. “The guys like being part of the Indy community and part of the 500.” said Roger Berlin President of Superior Carpet. Thank you to Roger and Susie Berlin, Chad Weber, Parker Dillion, Dave "Boo" Dillion, Evan James, Kelsey Biggs, Doug Weber, Levi Setters, Josh Berlin, and Mike Judd for being a vital part of the community.

  

How to thank this veteran (and others): Support prevailing wage

  • dgarcia
  • 01 June 2016

Gilbert Charles, of Pinckney, is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 1980s and moved to the skilled trades. His son, Matt, has followed in his father's footsteps as a veteran and now as an apprentice learning how to become an electrician.

By Gilbert Charles

As we near Veterans Day, we will hear from many political leaders how grateful they are for our service. Some will express concern about veterans who return home and their opportunity to find a good job to support their families.

As a U.S. Army vet who served in the 1980s — and as the father of an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan — I always appreciate those thoughts. But I'm also concerned about efforts in the Legislature that would cut the pay of many Michigan veterans working in the construction industry.

I returned to Michigan after my service, and looked around for a good job, one that would let me build on my training, provide fairly for my family, offer decent health care benefits and a path to retirement. I found that job, training in an apprentice program and becoming a journeyman electrician as a member of IBEW Local 252. A portion of my paycheck each week goes to the apprenticeship program, to ensure those veterans and others who come after me get the training they need to do their job well and safely.

That turns out to have been a good investment. Now my son Matt is following in my footsteps. He's in the Local 252 IBEW-NECA apprenticeship program, earning while he learns, at no cost to taxpayers. We know a lot of veterans in the industry. A recent report by the State of Michigan showed that about 9 percent of veterans are in the construction industry, compared with about 6 percent of state workers overall. And many were attracted to the fair pay and good training made possible by the state's prevailing wage laws.

It's exciting to see my son work in major, complex construction jobs at the University of Michigan — jobs that demand the skills I've gained over the years. But it's not clear that good paying jobs in the skilled trades professions will be available to future vets.

A handful of politically powerful special interests want to cut the pay and benefits going to skilled trades workers by eliminating prevailing wage policies, even though research shows taxpayers won't save a dime.

Prevailing wage policies say that taxpayer-supported jobs have to pay the going rate of pay in the region — usually the union-negotiated wage. Any company can bid, union or nonunion. But they have to pay a fair wage rate. It helps keep out-of-state companies from coming in with cheaper, less skilled workers to do the minimally acceptable job that meets minimum standards.

It's in the state's best interest to attract veterans such as Matt into the skilled trades, where there is a shortage of workers today. But without prevailing wage policies, the job will be a lot less attractive — in fact, many skilled-trades workers, including veterans, won't enter the profession, or will go to another state. (Other Midwest states have prevailing wage policies, it's mostly low-paying states in the South that don't). Union apprenticeship programs will also disappear, and taxpayers will have to pay for those programs.

So this November, don't just thank Matt and I for our service. We know you appreciate that. Take another step. Tell your lawmakers to support good jobs for veterans by supporting prevailing wage laws. That way Michigan veterans can return confident they will be able to get good training and support their families by taking jobs in the skilled trades

Attacks On Prevailing Wage Laws Disproportionally Hurt Veterans

  • dgarcia
  • 23 May 2016

Media Contact: Doug Gordon (202) 494-5141 |doug@dsgstrategies.com

Report Finds That As Hundreds Of Thousands Of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Enter Work Force, Prevailing Wage Greatly Improves Economic Outcomes For Veterans

 

first-of-its-kind study released on May 10, 2016 finds that prevailing wage greatly improves economic outcomes for veterans and that growing attacks on prevailing wage at the state level will disproportionally hurt the hundreds of thousands post-9/11 veterans who are returning to the workforce.

Exploring of the economic impact of state prevailing wage laws on veterans in the construction industry, the study was commissioned by VoteVets, the largest progressive group of veterans in America. The study was conducted by Frank Manzo IV of the Illinois Economic Policy InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Robert Bruno, and Colorado State University-Pueblo Economist, Dr. Kevin Duncan.

“The data clearly shows that veterans work in the skilled construction trades at significantly higher rates than non-veterans,” said Manzo. “The difference is even more pronounced in states with average or strong prevailing wage policies–so any changes in these laws will have an outsized impact on those who have served in the military.”

Click Here to Download the Full Report.

Click Here to Download a Summary of the Report.

With construction now the second-fastest growing industry in America, the military is helping active duty service personnel prepare for civilian careers through the US Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP)—which now accounts for almost 22% of all registered apprenticeships in the country.

The study found that prevailing wage laws not only encourage more veterans to put these skills to work in their communities, but that they pull thousands of veterans out of poverty each year in the process.

Utilizing industry standard economic modeling, it also found that if each of the states with average or strong prevailing wage laws enacted repeals, 24,000 veterans would lose their health insurance, another 65,000 would leave the construction workforce, veteran construction workers would see their incomes drop by $3.1 billion per year, and nearly 8,000 veteran owned construction businesses would shut their doors.

With prevailing wage laws coming under attack in at least 11 states over the past two years, VoteVets has announced that it will be begin airing ads to educate the public about the importance of these standards, and hold lawmakers accountable.  The campaign will begin in Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner had proposed repeal at the local level as part of his “Turnaround Agenda.”

“It is appalling to see so many politicians who profess to ‘support veterans’ actively fighting to cut their wages,” said VoteVets Chairman Jon Soltz. “Prevailing wage laws help more veterans translate battlefield skills into middle class careers in their communities.  With too many post 9/11 veterans struggling to find work, we need to be strengthening these laws, not weakening them.”

ICRA program continues to make hospital construction safer

  • group7even
  • 06 May 2016

The Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) Program provides patient-focused training for Carpenters and other trades working in hospitals, medical facilities or other occupied spaces. Workers who attend the training learn about containing pathogens, controlling airflow and recognizing and properly disposing of hazardous materials. By learning how to keep hospital construction sites safe and infection-free, attendees gain skills that set them apart from the rest of the field.

We are proud to work with other trades to ensure safety across all spectrums of hospital construction and appreciate their ongoing commitment to patient and staff safety. The dedication of other crafts to excellence in healthcare construction is demonstrated by sending 3,467 of their members through the ICRA 8-Hour Awareness Training.

  • Sprinkler Fitters
  • Cement Finishers
  • Roofers
  • Insulators 
  • Sheet Metal
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters
  • Electricians 

Do you want to ensure infection control best practices are used by construction workers in upcoming renovation or construction projects at your healthcare facility? Contact Brad Murphy at 317-605-1386 or bmurphy@ikorcc.com for a list of contractors in your area that use ICRA-trained staff.

Construction ICRA Best Practices is an innovative program that provides patient-focused training for Carpenters and other trades working in hospitals, medical facilities or other occupied spaces. This set of best practices helps prevent the spread of disease and infection during construction at healthcare facilities. ICRA instructors also offer training opportunities to healthcare facility staff.

 

Agreement between U.S. Department of Labor, Oregon Bureau of Labor provides education, enforcement to protect workers from missclassification

  • group7even
  • 06 May 2016

Participants: U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Partnership description: The division and bureau signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. The two agencies will provide clear, accurate and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees, and other stakeholders; share resources and enhance enforcement by conducting coordinated investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law.

Background: The division is working with the IRS and 28 other states to combat employee misclassification and to ensure that workers get the wages, benefits, and protections to which they are entitled. Mislabeling employees as independent contractors can deny them of basic rights such as minimum wage, overtime and a host of other benefits. Misclassification also reduces federal and state tax revenues, and prevents contributions to state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds.

More information on misclassification and the effort are available at http://www.dol.gov/misclassification/.

Quotes: “The Wage and Hour Division continues to attack this problem head on with a combination of a robust education and outreach campaign and a nationwide, data-driven, strategic enforcement across industries. Our goal is always to strive toward workplaces with decreased misclassification, increased compliance, and more workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

David Weil, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator

Quote: “When corporations misclassify their workforce, they make it much more difficult for workers facing wage theft, civil rights abuse or other unfair treatment on the job. This agreement will create a new tool to help protect the rights of Oregon workers cheated on the job.”

Brad Avakian, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner

Source: WHD News Brief, 04/04/2016
Photo: Matt Brown

2016 IKORCC scholarship winners

  • admin
  • 06 May 2016

Congratulations to our 40 2016 scholarship recipients! Each student received a $1,000 scholarship toward tuition, room and board, or books.

Twenty of the scholarships were awarded on high school grade point average (60%) and SAT or ACT scores (40%). The other twenty were selected by random in a drawing. This year's applicants were evaluated by a team of college administrates at the Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Recipients are sons, daughters, and dependent children of members of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. The parent or guardian must be a member in good standing of IKORCC for at least one year. The son, daughter, or dependent child must be a high school graduating senior or be attending a college, university or trade school as a full-time student. 

Morgan Thornsberry

Hunter Johnson

Shelby Robinson

Mia Baker

Bryan Moore

Amber Horn

Adam Sanderson

Josephine Rogers

Abigail Fletcher

Brandon Zink

Nash Crosby

Gregory Fitzpatrick

Tonianne Carpenter

Cameron Harris

Jade Harris

Mason Moore

Chase English

Jacob Tobar

Marie Speer

Matthew Randolph

Cassandra Jarus

Madison Powell

Abigail Brown

Gage Courvelle

Nathaly Diaz

Isabelle Hoyt

Caelin McManis

Jake Mish

Zachery Hignite

James Powers

Chance Allen

Devon Glaser

Jamie Helton

Keely Springman

Brian Baran

Gabrielle Szoradi

Lindsey Patterson

Anna Mitchell

Lauren Grande

Tanner Straneva

To apply for a 2017 scholarship, click here.

Pages