By Matthew Capece, Special Representative to the General President
“That’s what this boils down to. We have these people intimidated,” said Mike Nobles, a notorious supplier of labor to millionaire construction contractors.
That’s the type of guy that more and more construction companies are turning to. Not only do they intimidate their workers, they pay them off the books—no tax payments, no overtime pay, a lack of safety and cheating on insurance premiums. You know, short-sheeting on all the basic stuff that legitimate contractors are supposed to do.
The contractors using the Nobles of the world may pretend they don’t know about these schemes. But don’t be fooled—the contractors know exactly what’s going on.
Here’s an example. There’s a labor broker that works in the heart of a community that helps build and maintain our nuclear arsenal—a community that relies on tax dollars. This labor broker supplies workers to a small group of contractors. They’ve built university buildings, office buildings and even churches. Numerous state and federal investigations have found the broker in violation of the law, and the contractors know about it. But the broker changes his company name, finds another workers’ comp carrier to fleece and continues to work for the same contractors. And workers continue to be paid without tax deductions on their jobs.
And we pay for that. We pay with potholes, rusty bridges, large class sizes for our kids, lower wages, deficits—and an insecure future. We pay like we’re supposed to, while others treat the law like a mere traffic cone and make suckers out of employers who do things right. This cynical perversion of the law turns it into a weapon against anyone in the marketplace who believes in the rule of law.
Yeah, we pay—while others look the other way.