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2022 Election – IKORCC Endorsements

“Educate. Agitate. Organize.” Those are the words United Brotherhood of Carpenters founder Peter J. McGuire spoke about the key tenets to build and maintain our union. Each year, the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters meets with current and potential legislators to educate them of Carpenter’s Issues. It is imperative to our mission to protect our members rights on the job and fight for other issues that impact how they work. Leer más

Tax Fraud Days of Action 2022: Kentucky

Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Representatives spoke with state and local officials on April 13th and 14th to learn more and speak out about construction industry tax fraud in Kentucky. Events were held by IKORCC across the three states and sponsored by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters across the United States and Canada.

More than 50 Senate and House Representatives stopped by our setup in the capitol building in Frankfort on April 13th. The statehouse was in session and full which opened the door for IKORCC to make new introductions with lawmakers who were unaware of construction industry tax fraud were made. All 200 meals and toolboxes were handed out.

On April 14th, over 25 officials including area mayors, State Representatives, judges, code enforcement officers, tax clerks, and local business owners attended a lunch and learn about tax fraud.

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Tax Fraud Days of Action 2022: Ohio

In four events across the state, regional legislators visited the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Training Centers on April 12th and 13th to learn more and speak out about construction industry tax fraud. Events were held by IKORCC across the three states and sponsored by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters across the United States and Canada.

On April 12th, the IKORCC held events in Rossford and Monroe.  On April 13th, events took place in Richfield and Columbus.  All four events brought in legislators from both sides of the aisle some with little knowledge of the dangerous practice in the construction industry. Leer más

Political Update

Indiana

2021 has been another successful year for Indiana politics. The IKORCC managed to harvest a great relationship with the Indiana Association of Public-School Superintendents (IAPSS) and received an invitation to go on tour with them for all eight of their district meetings. During the tour, we were introduced to public school superintendents in all 92 counties. In addition, we were given the opportunity to talk about our Door Safety Inspection (DSI) Program and Career Connections.

One of our many focuses was on getting more “Responsible Bidder Language” added into front end bid specs with school corporations. During the 2021 year, we were able to obtain an additional two agreements with the Metropolitan School District of Boone Township and Concord Community Schools.

Other events worth mentioning that took place during the 2021 year are several successful meetings with political figures regarding laws being introduced to support ICRA training requirements being put in place if any work is being done in occupied health care facilities or schools that may have students present. Also, the City of Indianapolis has promised to make tax fraud and worker misclassification its number one priority for 2022. This commitment came directly from Mayor Joe Hogsett during a public speech that he gave to the city.

During the Delegates conference, Senator Fady Quadra (left) spoke to the membership and explained his level of respect for the Carpenters Union and other organized labor affiliates. He affirmed that he would carry the Carpenters ICRA legislation in 2022.

Due to line redistricting, a Senate seat for District 46 has come up for grabs. We have successfully sourced a candidate that is a card-carrying member of AFSCME whom we helped get elected to the Indianapolis City County Council, to go after this open seat. The candidate has confirmed they will make it known that this seat will be a union held seat if elected. This seat will be won during the primaries due to it being a largely held partisan district.

 

Kentucky

2021 was a busy political year in Kentucky.  Even with the COVID-19 restrictions we’ve been able to build great relationships with local lawmakers and state legislators.  Our goals in Kentucky are to address tax fraud and ensure we are in the best position to secure our work with the influx of new solar projects coming to the area.

With solar, it is our hope to introduce language similar to legislation that exists in other states that would protect our work and put our contractor base in the best position possible to secure solar work.  Our solar committee, headed up Jeremy Welch and Wallace Turner, has done a tremendous job working with developers and owners to provide information to the political team. That info is vital in working with our lawmakers to sell our training and the importance of the upcoming work.

Tax fraud is a major problem in Kentucky.  1099 worker misclassification and the cash under the table business model used by non-signatory contractors has put our contractor base at huge disadvantage.  Working with our Director of Organizing Kenneth Lyons and our political team, we’ve been taking local and state legislators to job site visits to show them the impact and loss of tax revenue that is currently going on.

Now that the November local elections are over, we will actively continue to educate local elected officials about our issues.  We use our training facilities to conduct tours and plan to ramp up job site visits.  Do not discount the importance you have in actively participating to successfully reach our goals.

If you are not registered to vote please do so.  You can register online at vrsws.sos.ky.gov.  Moving into 2022 there will be very important races all across Kentucky.

 

Ohio

2021 was a challenge, politically.  Our approach in building relationships with lawmakers became more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 mandates throughout Ohio. Thankfully, we found creative ways to continue building relationships with our local and state lawmakers.  We use our four self-funded Ohio training centers as our main selling point with politicians.  We continue to take elected officials out for jobsite visits to showcase what we do and also highlight the bad jobsites where tax fraud is rampant due to the lack of legislation in Ohio.

As a result, we continue to build support from both sides of the aisle – Democrat and Republican.  We have been successful in protecting our core issues such as Prevailing Wage, Right to Work, and Unemployment Compensation.  We are now using our relationships to introduce language to address tax fraud.  Our tax fraud bill will create a Tax Fraud Commission to study the impact that paying cash under the table and worker misclassification abuse is having, not only to us but every taxpayer within Ohio.  We are aggressively lobbying on current issues to protect our work within all four refineries in the state.

Our motto has always been to Educate, Agitate, and Organize.  These very same principles are used when working with any elected lawmaker.  Our Ohio political team covers all corners of the state and we will keep every UBC member informed of legislation that may affect us.

With the 2022 election cycle upcoming we will be very busy working for current lawmakers we support and going through a vetting process for any open seats to ensure that the right lawmakers are elected.  If you are not already registered to vote, please do so.

You can register online at ohiosos.gov.  Remember that when a recommendation is made to support a candidate they are soundly in support of protecting your work, your career, and your ability to provide for your family.

Call to the Hall! Ohio Carpenters To Rally Against Tax Fraud at Columbus City Hall

Ohio carpenters & their families will rally outside of the Columbus City Hall on Monday, April 15th from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to shine a spotlight on the corrupt practices of illegitimate contractors who steal billions of dollars from our communities – money that should be spent on education, public safety, and infrastructure. Tax fraud is just one aspect of the illegal business practices plaguing the Ohio construction industry, along with wage theft, independent contractor misclassification, and workers’ compensation insurance fraud.

The Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) will join area members in the fight to crack down on these destructive and illegal business practices at the Columbus City Hall. The IKORCC hopes the event will bring awareness of the damage tax fraud causes in Ohio and encourage the Columbus City Council to take action to stop it.

The fraud comes when workers are paid off the books by shady subcontractors and labor brokers, who are hired by contractors to underbid law-abiding businesses. Fraud happens on all types of projects, including taxpayer-funded projects —, which means we all lose.  Rampant cheating in the construction industry makes it difficult to repair roads, bridges and schools, care for veterans and shore up Medicare and Social Security.

Construction industry tax fraud and related crimes and violations are happening every day on large-scale projects, costing Ohio communities an estimated $248 million dollars in state and local taxes.

Recovering unpaid tax dollars in Ohio could pay for:

  • 7,937 teachers
  • 325 miles of resurfaced highways
  • 49% increase in school construction/ renovation

The April 15th rally in Columbus is part of the nationwide Construction Industry Tax Fraud Days of Action by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to raise awareness and generate action against tax fraud and related crimes.

‘Worker misclassification’ seen as growing threat by contractors, unions in the Region

Andrew Steele andrew.steele@nwi.com, 219-933-3241
Sep 3, 2017 Updated Sep 8, 2017

As companies strive to increase profits amid a changing economy and consumer habits, the discussion often centers on challenges posed by the “gig economy” and its impact on work and employment.

Upstart companies like the Uber ride-sharing service tend to be the focus of concern; recent reports of such companies’ drivers speaking out against perceived company efforts to trim their pay bear this out.

Online story on NWI Times

But the growing use of short-term contracts in industries such as construction is threatening traditional employment in a way some say has reached a critical phase.

The fight is over what’s commonly called “employee misclassification” — or payroll fraud, in the view of unions and contractors. It involves an employer hiring workers as freelancing contractors who should be full-time employees, thereby allowing the employer to avoid paying payroll taxes, and worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance premiums, among other costs.

“It’s a problem that’s been around for many decades,” said Dewey Pearman, executive director of the Construction Advancement Foundation of Northwest Indiana. “But it’s becoming epidemic.”

Officials with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters visit job sites frequently to talk to carpenters, said Scott Cooley, senior representative at the union’s local headquarters. He said he often talks to contract workers who he believes should be formal employees.

“We run into it all the time,” Cooley said. “It’s just a regular occurrence.”

Some workers in question receive a federal 1099 form at the end of the year, but others aren’t reported at all, and are just paid cash for their work.

‘No magic’ in defining employment

Classifying employees properly isn’t an exact science. It involves several variables, including the degree of company control over the employee; the financial arrangement, including who provides tools and supplies; whether there are benefits such as a pension and insurance; and whether work performed is a key component of the business’ activity.

The Internal Revenue Service lists 20 factors to consider, and states in its guidance on the matter that “there is no ‘magic’ or set number of factors that ‘makes’ the worker an employee or an independent contractor.”

But contractors and the carpenters’ union say some building projects are rife with contract workers who clearly are misclassified: their hours and duties are assigned by their employer, their tools and supplies are provided, and their work is a core function of the company — all factors that generally make one an employee, not a contract worker, in the eyes of the law.

Quantifying the problem

A 2010 study commissioned by the Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council and the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting argued that a company’s use of these workers gives employers who use the practice a decided, but unfair, competitive advantage.

The report, by economists from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, estimated 72,299 employers, 8,052 of them in construction, had misclassified employees in 2008. It said 15.3 percent of employees were misclassified, totaling 377,742 workers, of whom 24,323 were in construction.

The practice also has implications for governments at all levels, the study found. For the state in 2008, $30.4 million in unemployment insurance taxes were lost, $2 million of that from the construction industry.

Between $134.8 million and $224.6 million of income tax revenue went unpaid, with $10.6 million from the construction industry.

Local income tax losses statewide totaled $91.2 million, $7.2 million of that from the construction industry, according to the study. Also, $26.3 million of worker’s compensation premiums were not properly paid, with $4.6 million of that from construction, according to the report.

Ultimately, the University of Missouri report estimated the costs to the state of Indiana, at a high end, of about $406 million annually.

But a precise evaluation of the cost to government is elusive. Several state agencies charged by the state’s Pension Management Oversight Commission with doing a study of their own in 2010 disputed the methodology and assumptions of the university study.

They estimated 8 percent of workers, not 15.3 percent, are misclassified, and that the state loses $14 million to $20 million annually in tax revenue, “of which (the Department of Revenue) could be expected to recover a substantial portion.”

The report, by the state departments of Workforce Development, Labor and Revenue and the Workers’ Compensation Board, also questioned the impact on the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance system.

Finally, the report’s writers argue that misclassification often is an innocent misunderstanding of the law. “Heavy-handed penalties will have little impact on these employers,” the report concluded.

But contractors and unions dispute these conclusions, saying the effect on their work is clear and stronger enforcement is key. When a state legislative study committee investigated the issue last year, more than 40 contractors wrote letters contending that the misclassification problem has grown to the point that it threatens the viability of construction companies that abide by the rules.

The companies included Northwest Indiana’s Berglund, Gough, Larson-Danielson, Precision, Prodigy, Solid Platforms, Specialty, Superior, and Pangere.

Misclassification “gives cheating contractors a 30 percent advantage in bidding, undermining the legitimate contracting community through low-ball bids that do not represent the cost of conducting lawful business,” wrote Timothy Larson, president of Larson-Danielson Construction Co.

Enforcement elusive?

The carpenters’ union recently had success when it filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board regarding a LaPorte hotel under construction. The complaint alleged that misclassification of workers impeded their ability to act collectively and form, or join, a union.

The complaint resulted in a settlement requiring the contractor to reclassify the employees and to inform them of their rights under federal law. But union officials called that settlement “a slap on the wrist” and, along with the contractors, have urged greater enforcement.

“There are laws on the books right now; the problem is they’re not enforced,” Cooley, of the tri-state carpenters’ council, said.

Efforts on the state level have included a law that took effect in 2010 requiring the Labor, Workforce Development and Revenue departments, along with the Worker’s Compensation Board, to share information on possible worker misclassification in the construction business.

The state also maintains an email address to receive tips, wagehour@dol.in.gov.

But further efforts to bolster enforcement have met with resistance, according to the state senator behind a bill proposed in the last session.

“We’ve got all these different departments, and they’re supposed to share this information, but it doesn’t always happen,” said Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes.

Tallian authored a law that would have created a Payroll Fraud Task Force made up of representatives of the four state agencies. The law would have required hiring an investigator dedicated to investigation and enforcement. The bill had one committee hearing but never received a vote.

“We recognize there’s a problem. We just don’t know how big the problem is, and we don’t know for sure how to fix it,” said the Pensions and Labor Committee chairman, Crawfordsville Republican Phil Boots, when he concluded the Feb. 1 committee hearing on it.

Tallian said the state government has downplayed the problem and the state agencies’ potential to address it.

“It keeps getting worse,” Tallian said. “This bill will be filed again. We’re going to keep pushing it.”

Video: Indiana GOP Leader Admits Repealing Prevailing Wage ‘Hasn’t Saved a Penny’

By  – May 2nd, 2017 09:18 am

MADISON, Wis. — With the Republican-controlled Senate Labor Regulatory Reform Committee poised Wednesday morning to vote for a misguided repeal of prevailing wage laws for public works projects, video has surfaced from a forum April 24 in Milwaukee where Republican Indiana House Assistant Majority Leader Ed Soliday angrily reveals that similar legislation passed in Indiana which went into effect in 2015 “hasn’t saved a penny.”

“We got rid of prevailing wage and so far it hasn’t saved a penny,” Soliday says during the question and answer session last week hosted by the Wisconsin Transportation Development Association in Milwaukee. “Probably the people most upset with us repealing [prevailing] wage were the locals. Because the locals, quite frankly, like to pay local contractors and they like local contractors to go to the dentist in their own town.”

One comprehensive analysis showed repealing Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws will result in a projected $500 million in construction value being completed by out-of-state contractors on an annual basis and a yearly total of over $1.2 billion being lost due to reduced economic activity. A second analysis revealed 885 public construction jobs left Indiana after repeal of prevailing wage and 770 jobs popped up across the border in Kentucky.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said he “wasn’t surprised the Wisconsin Republicans are using lies and deception to level yet another attack on Wisconsin workers.” Ross said the list of Republican co-authors on the bill was “a who’s who of Wisconsin’s anti-worker extremists.”

In the video obtained by One Wisconsin Now, Republican Soliday also mocks the outrageous claims about savings made by right-wing organizations like the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. In Indiana, anti-worker groups claimed prevailing wage repeal would save taxpayers 22 percent on construction costs. Both the Wisconsin Americans for Prosperity and the Bradley Foundation-funded MacIver Institute have claimed prevailing wage repeal would save 23 percent in costs.

“The exaggerations in those hearings that we were going save 22 percent,” Soliday says. “Well, total labor costs right now in road construction is about 22 percent, and I haven’t noticed anyone who’s going to work for free. [They claim] there’s some magic state out there that’s going to send all these workers into work for $10 an hour and it’s just not going to happen. There’s not 22 percent savings out there when the total cost of labor is 22 percent. It’s rhetoric.”

Soliday adds, “So far, I haven’t seen a dime of savings out of it.”

Wisconsin’s independent Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported no fiscal impact nor budget savings for taxpayers by repealing prevailing wage laws.

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values

The House just passed a bill that affects overtime pay

by Julia Horowitz @juliakhorowitzMay 2, 2017: 10:42 PM ET
“Do you get paid for overtime work? The House of Representatives just passed a bill you may want to know about.

The measure, backed by Republicans, would let employers give workers paid time off instead of time-and-a-half pay the next time they put in extra hours. The vote tally was largely along party lines, with no Democrats voting in favor of the bill. Six Republicans also voted against it.

G.O.P. leadership has touted the legislation, called the Working Families Flexibility Act, as an attempt to codify flexibility for employees.

“I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than giving them more control over their time so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said Tuesday morning in a press conference held by Republican leaders in the House.”

Read More

National Poll: Most Voters Support Prevailing Wage on Public Infrastructure Projects

SMART CITIES PREVAIL
APR 26, 2017

“While voters may have disagreed on many issues this past November, they agree that prevailing wage laws should be preserved by a wide margin,” said pollster Brian Stryker. “Only 21% of voters want to eliminate prevailing wage laws—even after hearing a commonly referenced argument for doing so. And support for prevailing wage extends to large majorities of Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Trump voters.”

Read More Here

Gary Wetzel: Repealing Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law would hurt veterans

GUEST COLUMN
Feb 21, 2017

SOUTH MILWAUKEE — I am a proud military veteran, Medal of Honor recipient, American Legion member and retired operating engineer. Though retired, I am an active advocate for veterans, their medical care, job opportunities and family sustaining wages.

Specifically, I am concerned about a repeal of Wisconsin’s prevailing wage law and the negative impact it would have on veterans.

Wisconsin legislators are threatening a rollback of the prevailing wage law that would mean a significant cut in wages for anyone — union or non-union — working in construction. The Wisconsin American Legion understands the seriousness of the situation and recently passed a resolution calling for veterans to receive employment preference for projects that receive state, county and municipal grants and contracts. It also calls for wages to be paid at a family-sustaining level (as set by federal guidelines mirroring our state prevailing wage law) to prevent the financial exploitation of veterans.

When I came back from the Vietnam War, I was one shot-up man. Almost exactly 49 years ago, our helicopter was shot down near Ap Dong An, and I lost one of my arms. My crew members were either dead or soon-to-be dead, because the helicopter was on fire and the enemy had us pinned down. I grabbed the ’copter’s machine gun and returned fire with my one good arm. I survived that day with a few others and was awarded the nation’s highest award for valor by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

When I came back, a career in the operating engineers offered me training, a community and a good living. Transitioning to civilian life was hard, but having a job to support a family helped make that transition easier. I operated heavy machinery with one arm for 40 years.

In Wisconsin, veterans make up 8.3 percent of the construction workforce, which is significantly higher than the percentage of veterans in the general workforce. Employment in the construction industry is projected to grow by over 14,000 jobs between now and 2022. In other words, Wisconsin has a real opportunity to put veterans to work in an industry they already gravitate toward.

Opponents of prevailing wage policies argue that repeal saves money. They claim a low-skilled, undertrained construction worker making rock-bottom wages will produce the same product as a higher-skilled, professionally trained craftsman. I can tell you from experience that is simply not true.

What low-road contractors save in labor costs never materializes as savings for taxpayers. That’s because taxpayers end up footing the bill for reduced worksite efficiency, higher injury rates, and the prospect of needing to go back and fix work that wasn’t done right the first time by a contractor who by then is long gone, resulting in higher material and energy costs.

This is not a union versus non-union issue. All workers in the construction industry benefit from prevailing wage laws. Prevailing wage laws simply ensure workers building our vital infrastructure receive a fair wage. If you cut construction worker wages by repealing prevailing wage laws — which everyone agrees will happen if prevailing wage laws are eliminated — veterans will be harder hit because veterans are more likely to work in the construction industry.

We are veterans who want our voices heard and have a deep desire to continue proudly serving this great state and country by building safer roads, schools and communities for our families. Let us send a loud message to our legislative leaders — protect job opportunities and wages for our veterans.

Wetzel, of South Milwaukee, is a member of Legion Post 434 in Oak Creek.