The Losses Keep Mounting
More than $8.4 billion a year is lost to Construction Industry Employer Tax Fraud! Watch the losses climb, from Jan. 1, 2017 to now.
WHEN CARPENTERS TAKE ACTION, WE WIN
When it’s time to take action, UBC members always step up to the plate. Here are some recent accomplishments:
Thousands of members and supporters of the United Brother of Carpenters and Joiners of America across the United States and Canada took part in nearly 200 educational and protest events during Tax Fraud Days of Action, April 12 – 18. We will not stop until construction industry employer tax fraud has been eradicated!
Tax Fraud Days of Action 2023 Wrap Up Video
This year’s Tax Fraud Days of Action events and accomplishments included:
Ottawa, Ontario—UBC Canadian District Vice President Jason Rowe met privately with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss a range of issues on April 19, including employer tax fraud and the underground economy. Trudeau expressed “wholehearted” support for the Days of Action campaign during the meeting. He also spoke of the importance of addressing employer tax fraud during a town hall forum in Manitoba on April 12 in response to a question from Millwright Regional Council Representative James Szmerski.
Michigan—The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights has taken a leading role in championing a host of worker-friendly bills in the state legislature—all made possible since the 2022 midterm election brought pro-worker majorities to both houses. During Tax Fraud Days of Action, the council supported legislators in introducing 17 bills that will help counter wage theft, payroll fraud and related issues.
Central Midwest—Hosted by the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, nearly 30 elected officials participated in ride-alongs in several Midwestern cities, traveling to different construction sites to see the clear difference between law-abiding contractors and contractors that are paying workers off the books.
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a state representative participating in a ride-along notified city officials after he observed unsafe conditions and a potential case of child labor on a large residential project. A local television station reported on the case.
Kentucky—Governor Andy Beshear spoke out against employer tax fraud at a groundbreaking event for the expansion of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund campus in Grayson on April 18.
Arizona—In conjunction with the Southwest Mountain States Regional Council of Carpenters during Tax Fraud Days of Action, state Attorney General Kristin Mayes announced the formation of a worker protection task force. Among speakers at the announcement event was Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.
Illinois, Kansas and Missouri—Hundreds of members of the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council took part in 90 events to educate the public and public officials about employer tax fraud. Rallies, handbilling and other events were held at scores of jobsites and locations including the state capitol steps in Kansas and Missouri, the IRS building in Kansas City and the Mexican consulate in Chicago. In Rockford, Ill., the city issued a proclamation declaring April 17 as Tax Fraud Day.
Ohio—After a year of debate in Perrysville, the city council adopted a responsible bidder ordinance spearheaded by city council member Kevin Fuller, who is also a council representative for the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC)—once again showing how elections have consequences. The ordinance mandates that bidders on construction projects provide healthcare and retirement benefits for workers and that workers are trained in apprenticeship programs.
In Milford, diligence by the IKORCC recently helped secure a federal court order for some $265,000 in back pay for 182 employees of GEM Interiors, which had misclassified workers and falsified payroll records.
Several Ohio public officials recorded video messages during Tax Fraud Days of Action to speak out against employer tax fraud: Congress Members Emilia Sykes and Marci Kaptur, Lt. Governor John Husted and State Representatives Haraz Ghanbari and Tavia Galonski.
Southwest Mountain States—Members gathered locally throughout the Southwest Mountain States Regional Council to record solidarity videos protesting employer tax fraud. Members stood up in Spokane, Wash., Great Falls, Mont., Boise, Ida., Las Vegas and throughout Southern California. Elected leaders in New Mexico and Arizona posted videos in support. In downtown Los Angeles, members marched in a picket line protesting suspected fraudulent activity at a prominent construction project.
New England and New York State—Members of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters rallied in several cities including Albany, N.Y., Hartford, Conn., Manchester, N.H., Providence, R.I., and Boston and Salem in Massachusetts, to urge passage of anti-fraud state legislation and local ordinances. Dozens demonstrated in Framingham, Mass., to protest suspected fraudulent practices on a large project there.
Across Canada—UBC regional councils held events and activities to reach banking and financial institutions, governments at all levels and the community. Members wrote letters to their Members of Parliament and the UBC in Canada launched a year-long campaign for general contractor liability legislation at the federal and provincial levels. In addition, the UBC Canadian District has developed a “Community Builder” recognition program to highlight honest contractor partners who are working with the UBC to combat tax fraud through their dedication to fair practices, worker rights and responsible industry standards.
Pacific Northwest—Members of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters rallied on the state capitol steps in Olympia, Wash., and met with legislators to discuss solutions to construction employer tax fraud. In Oregon, members rallied in Salem at the state capitol and on the steps of Portland City Hall. Several public officials in both states recorded video messages, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said, “Wage theft is a barrier to equitably sharing the benefits of economic growth with all workers, who deserve to be paid what they are owed.”
Indiana—Representatives of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters met with officials of an Indianapolis bank to discuss the ways that perpetrators of fraud may engage in banking violations such as wire fraud, money laundering and labor trafficking. Banks are being urged to add the characteristics of financial crimes in the construction industry to their alert systems.
Northern California—Hundreds attended Days of Action rallies at the State Capitol in Sacramento and at the city halls in San Francisco and San Jose. Public officials speaking at the events included Sacramento District Attorney (DA) Thien Ho, San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins, San Jose DA Jeff Rosen, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, county officials and several state assemblymembers and senators.
San Antonio—The Central South Carpenters Regional Council hosted an event at City Hall to speak out about the effects of construction employer tax fraud on the community, and ways to stop it. Speakers included San Antonio City Council members Terry Castillo and Mario Bravo, as well as a worker who has been a victim of employer tax fraud.
Florida and Alabama—Council representatives visited banks and talked to executives about financial crimes in the construction industry and the need for banks to initiate construction industry fraud detection alerts.
Tennessee—Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced on April 18 that he will partner with Memphis Local 345 of the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council to combat misclassification of workers in the area.
New York City—Some 1,500 members of the New York City District Council of Carpenters rallied at the New York City Public Library in Manhattan to urge passage of the Wage Theft Accountability Act in the state legislature. Speakers included Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, Brooklyn District Attorney (DA) Eric Gonzalez, Bronx DA Darcel Clark and New York City Comptroller Brad Lindner.
Mid-Atlantic States—the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters held an online conference on construction employer tax fraud with Delaware Attorney General (AG) Kathy Jennings, District of Columbia AG Brian Schwalb, Maryland AG Anthony Brown, New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin and Pennsylvania AG Michelle Henry.
Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council—Political Director Jason Clark will be a panelist in June at the Attorney General Alliance’s annual summit of attorneys general from across the U.S. The invitation is a direct result of the council’s work during this year’s Days of Actions events. Jason will speak on labor trafficking as it relates to human trafficking.
See the video and photos below and read the Days of Action blog for a full wrap-up here.
Regional councils held more than 200 in-person and virtual events across the United States and Canada in the fight against construction industry employer tax fraud. It was the largest number of events since the Days of Action campaign was first launched in 2019.
- A Carpenters Union-sponsored bill passed in the Illinois General Assembly that will hold primary contractors liable for subcontractors’ failure to pay proper wages.
- State legislators joined with UBC members during Days of Action events in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Rhode Island to announce support for new bills combating tax fraud and wage theft.
- Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced a new enforcement initiative to combat wage theft.
- State and local elected officials in Austin, Texas, joined a rally with UBC members in support of the campaign against tax fraud. A resolution is being considered by the city council to protect workers victimized by wage theft.
- Attorneys general from New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Rhode Island and California joined carpenters in highlighting the negative impacts of tax fraud and wage theft.
- Canadian UBC members participated in a nationwide letter-writing campaign to Members of Parliament and educational meetings in each province with bank officials and money managers.
- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation declaring April 18, 2022, as Construction Industry Tax Fraud Day of Action “to raise awareness of the issue and advocate that we stop tax fraud at all levels of government.”
See the photos below and view the Days of Action video here.
Read the Days of Action blog for a full wrap-up of 2022 events here.
Tax Fraud Days of Action 2022 Video
Regional councils held more than 100 in-person and virtual events in the fight against construction industry employer tax fraud.
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced new measures that will help level the playing field for legitimate contractors who bid on state contracts.
- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards voiced support for allowing penalties for first-time offenders of the state’s anti-misclassification law.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced his office is prosecuting the largest criminal prevailing wage theft case in U.S. history against Glenn O. Hawbaker.
- Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Hamon announced support for legislation making upper-tier contractors liable for wage theft by subcontractors.
- The Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue agreed to request that a carpenter representative be seated on a federal committee on the underground economy and designate a fraud representative to work with the UBC.
- San Diego County officials announced new enforcement measures against tax fraud, as well as measures to make it easier for departments to work together on enforcement.
See the photos below and view the Days of Action video here.
Tax Fraud Days of Action 2021 Video
COVID-19 didn’t stop us from continuing the fight against employer tax fraud in the construction industry:
- New nationwide study released on employer tax fraud in the construction industry;
- New Jersey and Virginia hold contractors responsible for the wages stollen by subcontractors on their projects;
- Abuse of Nashville construction workers exposed;
- Missouri Governor creates anti-fraud task force;
- Pennsylvania establishes an anti-fraud task force; and
- UBC and Councils object to USDOL rule making it easier to deny workers overtime and minimum wages.
- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification;
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order creating a Task Force on Integrity in Wage Reporting and Employee Classification;
- Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau met with UBC District Vice President Jason Rowe;
- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel launched a Payroll Fraud Law Enforcement Unit;
- Over 160 news stories across the continent and an explosion of social media covered tax fraud events;
- State Attorneys General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Bob Ferguson of Washington, Brian Frosh of Maryland and Letitia James of New York attended events.
View the video of 2019 Days of Action events and see the photos below
Philadelphia Inquirer 4-3-19
It’s time to hold tax-cheats in construction accountable
Philly Voice 4-9-19
When contractors cheat, we all pay
Missouri times 4/10/19
Opinion: Tax Cheats Hurt Taxpayers and Honest Workers
Eagle Tribune (MA) 4/11/19
Carpenters: Industry plagued by tax fraud
Daily Commercial News (Toronto) 4/12/19
Carpenters Launch Days of Action to Combat Tax Fraud
Real Deal (NYC) 4/15/19
Officials at rally say construction tax fraud and fatalities are linked: City saw 3 construction-related deaths last week
NBC 5, 4/15/19
Carpenters take to streets to warn about tax fraud: Rallies across New York state aim to educate public
Wisconsin Public Radio, 4/15/19
Evers Administration Targets Payroll Fraud with New Task Force: Governor Announces New Initiative on Tax Day
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/15/19
Officials and unions urge enforcement of tax laws in construction industry
Uprise RI, 4/16/19
Elected leaders join Carpenters in rally at Sate House to call attention to tax fraud
Maine public radio, 4/20/19
New England Regional Council of Carpenters Call for an End to ‘Rampant Tax Fraud” at Portland Rally
US News & World Report, 4/22/19
Michigan AG Plans Crackdown on Worker Misclassification: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is establishing a special unit in her office to investigate payroll fraud and the misclassification of workers by “shady” businesses