If you heard that someone was embezzling money from their employer—cooking the books and pocketing the money—you would expect that person to be punished. How about if an employer is stealing from his or her employees? Isn’t that just as bad?
We think so. That’s why we are gearing up for Tax Fraud Days of Action, April 14 – 18, 2020!
Thousands of members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) took part in Days of Action events in 2019. Across the U.S. and Canada, members assembled at more than 100 events in 75 cities to educate the public and urge policymakers to combat the epidemic of Construction Industry Tax Fraud. See the 2019 Wrap-Up here.
The construction industry tax fraud epidemic encompasses a range of bad behavior, including wage theft and other underground economy scams, and misclassification of workers to avoid paying employment taxes and workers’ compensation. Construction industry players at all levels are involved in schemes to game the system and increase profits at the expense of ordinary workers—and the taxpaying public.
The UBC and its affiliated regional councils act every day to shine a light on the unscrupulous practices that hurt all our communities. A few recent examples:
- In Nashville, members of the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council protested in support of workers at a jobsite funded by the Metro Nashville Public Schools, where a subcontractor allegedly refused to pay concrete workers, robbing them of $43,000 in wages. Local television media has been actively investigating the story.
- In Northern Virginia, an investigation by the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters resulted in a 24-page report that put Amazon’s feet to the fire over multiple violations of federal wage and labor laws as it prepares for construction of its second headquarters. The Washington Post and area media reported extensively on the scandal and Amazon responded quickly with promises to correct the issues. The Council’s monitoring of Amazon continues.
- In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters is leading the fight against the shady practice of using “coyotes” (or labor brokers) to smuggle workers onto jobsites—and avoid paying workers’ comp, unemployment insurance and payroll taxes. A local TV station did a major investigation of the practice and state legislators are looking to beef up enforcement against it.
- In Minneapolis, the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters helped bring to justice Ricardo Ernesto Batres, a cheating contractor who exploited his crews of mostly immigrant workers over several years by subjecting them to unsafe conditions and withholding access to proper medical care—as well as forcing them to work excessive hours and withholding pay. He pled guilty to labor trafficking and insurance fraud and was sentenced to nine months in county jail and five years’ probation.
- In Canada, a 2019 study of Ontario’s underground construction economy put the annual losses in federal and provincial tax revenue up to $3.1 billion.
As General President Douglas J. McCarron recently said, “UBC members have had enough. They can see how fraud affects the construction industry, and they know that by standing together, we can change things.”
Visit this site often during the coming weeks and months to learn more about 2020 Days of Action events.