JUNE 26, 2017 7:45 PM
BY ELY PORTILLO
A group of construction workers and labor organizers told Charlotte City Council on Monday that the city needs to take more steps to ensure the people fueling the building boom aren’t taken advantage of and subjected to unsafe conditions.
At a press conference organized by the AFL-CIO union in front of the Government Center uptown, they asked City Council to establish a task force to study construction workers’ conditions and pass a policy to rate contractors and make them disclose more about their employment practices.
The call for more rules to protect construction workers is tied to a report called “Build a Better South” that highlights wage theft, workers misclassified as independent contractors, lack of benefits and other hardships facing workers in the South’s booming construction industry. The report is a partnership of the Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, and the University of Illinois.
The report’s authors surveyed almost 1,500 workers in six fast-growing cities – Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami and Nashville. In Charlotte, they found:
▪ Nearly half – 44 percent – received no benefits at all from their employers, such as sick leave or health insurance.
▪ The industry is largely made up of Latino workers, who comprised 68 percent of those construction workers surveyed in Charlotte.
▪ Only 11 percent had formal training in construction at a vocational school or community college.