A labor voice at Harvard: ex-union leader to study the underground economy (MA)

JULY 17, 2017
DEIRDRE FERNANDES

Mark Erlich was a familiar figure at construction sites as executive secretary of the state’s carpenters union. Now Erlich is hitting the hallowed halls of Harvard.

He’s joining the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School as a fellow. He’ll be working with professors and researchers at Harvard and other universities on issues of wages and the underground economy.

It’s a topic, he said, that is important not just for the construction industry but for the broader economy.

The research will focus on the rise of independent contractors and under-the-table compensation and how that affects public revenues, as well as identifying best practices for wage-enforcement programs.

During his 12 years heading the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Erlich was a consistent voice against wage abuses, pushing legislators to strengthen penalties for wage theft.

Erlich said several heavy-hitters on labor issues from the Obama administration are now in the Boston area, and he hopes to work with them as they explore a changing economy in which companies rely more on contractors, rather than full-time staff.

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Immigrant workers rally in NE Portland to shed light on problems in construction industry (OR)

Posted: Jul 28, 2017 12:34 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 28, 2017 12:34 AM EDT
By FOX 12 Staff

A group representing immigrant construction workers say they’re victims of rampant wage theft with many workers too afraid to come forward.

On Thursday the group held a rally that was organized by Portland Jobs with Justice for Immigrant Carpenters in Portland-area construction.

Workers took the podium to talk about instances of wage theft and other abuses they say they’ve experienced.

Workers say Thursday’s rally was to shed light on what they call a huge problem in Portland’s construction industry.

“Portland is under a huge construction boom right now. We got cranes all over, buildings going up left and right. But there’s an underground problem,” said Ben Besom with Northwest Carpenters Union. “It’s a really hard number to quantify because a lot of the people being exploited on these projects are afraid to come out of the shadows and tell their stories.”

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Column: Senate legislation to end wage theft epidemic

By STAN ROSENBERG and SAL DIDOMENICO
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Massachusetts economy is working very, very well for some people, but not nearly well enough for others. That’s why we have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the country.

Building an economy that works for everyone is one of the top priorities of the Massachusetts Senate. We are fortunate to have thriving industries in Massachusetts, like solar energy, cyber security and pharmaceuticals. We have companies that make headlines around the world for the pioneering work they do. They pay their workers well, and they make a substantial contribution to our economy.

Less well known is a persistent underground economy, with companies that never make headlines and use that to their advantage to exploit some of our most vulnerable workers. Those companies don’t pay their workers good wages, and sometimes they even refuse to pay them for the work they do. That’s wage theft, and it’s against the law.

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Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF)

Learn more about LETF in California and the Underground Economy

 

The Labor Enforcement Task Force, under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations, is a coalition of California State government enforcement agencies that work together and in partnership with local agencies to combat the underground economy. In this joint effort, information and resources are shared to ensure employees are paid properly and have safe work conditions and honest, law-abiding businesses have the opportunity for healthy competition.

RI 6-Agency Task Force Announces Establishment of Anonymous Tip Line for Allegations of Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors Instead of as Employees

By WorkersCompensation.com

Providence, RI (WorkersCompensation.com) – A six-agency task force established to protect both workers’ rights and law-abiding businesses that classify their employees properly announced today that it has set up an anonymous telephone tip line for allegations of misclassification.

Staffed by the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, the tip line number is 401-574-8477. Also, the task force is currently building a website to allow people to post tips online.

The chairman of the Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification, DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty, and RI Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan also announced that their agencies have been meeting regularly to share information since the task force came into being in June with the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2015 State Budget. The panel’s purpose is to:

  • coordinate joint efforts to combat fraudulent employment activities;
  • foster voluntary compliance with the law by educating workers and employers;
  • protect the health, safety and benefit rights of workers; and
  • protect law-abiding businesses from being undercut by companies that skirt the law. If warranted, an investigation may be referred to the Office of Attorney General.

 

“One of our major goals is educating, not violating, Rhode Island companies that might unknowingly be misclassifying their workers,” Fogarty said. “At the same time, however, fighting misclassification is an important strategy to promoting shared prosperity in our state

The Center for Contract Compliance – 12th Annual Conference

Jim Reed, Director of the CCC, has just announced details for the upcoming 12th Annual Underground Economy and Labor Compliance Conference.  The conference is scheduled for May 14-16, 2014, at the Riviera Palm Springs in Palm Springs, CA.  Early registration is now available, sign up prior to April 6th, 2014, and your registration fee will be waived.

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(Register Now) 

The Center for Contract Compliance – 12th Annual Conference

Jim Reed, Director of the CCC, has just announced details for the upcoming 12th Annual Underground Economy and Labor Compliance Conference.  The conference is scheduled for May 14-17, 2014, at the Riviera Palm Springs in Palm Springs, CA.  Early registration is now available, sign up prior to April 6th, 2014, and your registration fee will be waived.

(Read More)     

(Register Now) 

Sacramento landscaping company cited for wage theft

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has cited a Sacramento landscaping company with $665,000 in wage theft violations over a three-year period.

Sanctions against Michael Mello, owner of Green Valley Landscaping Services, include minimum wage violations of $338,175 for more than 40 employees, $169,088 in unpaid overtime and $157,500 for failure to provide itemized wage statements as required by California law.

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MASSACHUSETTS RECOVERS MILLIONS IN REVENUE BY REDUCING EMPLOYER FRAUD AND WORKER MISCLASSIFICATION

BOSTON – Thursday, September 5, 2013 – Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein today announced Massachusetts has recovered more than $21 million over an 18-month period in owed revenue recaptured through the collaborative work of the state’s Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (the Joint Task Force). This recovered amount is greater than the sum of all previous years combined as detailed in the Joint Task Force’s 2012 Annual Report.

In March 2008, Governor Deval Patrick established the Joint Task Force to restore fairness to the Massachusetts economy by addressing employer fraud and misclassification. Working towards this goal, the Joint Task Force is composed of various state agencies including representatives from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), as well as other executive branch agencies, the Office of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, the Office of the Treasurer’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.