Tag Archives: contractors

Union Blasts Company for Using Out of State Contractors to Build Wind Farm

In October, the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund held a rally in front of the American Wind Energy Association investor conference in Manhattan, New York. The union says that the California-based company EDF Renewable Energy hired out-of-state workers to build a wind farm in Lewis County in order to avoid paying prevailing wages.

“EDF’s decision to use out-of-state contractors to perform work being subsidized by New York tax dollars is a disgrace,” says John Hutchings, director of the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund. “Public subsidies should come with public responsibilities. We should be using the state’s limited development resources to fund projects that provide middle class jobs.”

Republicans Work to Overturn Protection from Outlaw Contractors

Corporate lobbyists are busy trying to persuade Republican Senators to try to do away with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which requires all companies seeking publicly funded contracts to report any record of violating workers’ rights on the job. As President Obama explained at its signing ceremony: “Taxpayer dollars should not reward companies that break the law.”

The lobby group opposing the law says that it is unnecessary. However, since 2013, Good Jobs Nation, a group representing 2 million low-wage employees of federal contracts, has filed more than 30 legal complaints on behalf of 500 workers documenting systematic wage theft, misclassification, and other labor law violations at the Pentagon, Smithsonian museums, and other federal offices in Washington, DC. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigation revealed that one Pentagon food service contractor threatened and intimidated workers who tried to organize.

Record Number of Workers Identified as Contractors

For the second year in a row, the Louisiana Workforce Commission identified a record 19,956 workers that employers misclassified as independent contractors in 2015. The agency also found employers had more than $50 million in unreported taxable wages and about $1.5 million in unreported and unpaid unemployment insurance taxes.

The National Employment Law Project says the practice of classifying employees as independent contractors robs workers of legal protection and unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance funds of billions of dollars each year. According to the LA commission, misclassification hurts employers who play by the rules, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Employers who misclassify workers as contractors can cut nearly 30% in payroll and related taxes that would otherwise be paid for employees. The practice is widespread, but occurs most frequently in construction, leisure, and hospitality.