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Carpenters Cry Foul

by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 29, 2014 8:06 am

(9) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Higher Ed, Labor

Thomas MacMillan Photo Three days after the state shut down a painting contractor working at Yale, two union carpenters showed up at the site with a huge sign and a demand.

David Jarvis and Tim Sullivan (pictured), two organizers with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, stood behind the sign Monday at the corner of High and Elm streets and waved at passing cars.

“Are law-breaking contractors working here now?” the sign read.

On Friday, the state Department of Labor issued a stop-work order at the renovation of Berkeley College, at 205 Elm St. Inspectors found that HG Painting of New Haven, a subcontractor, did not have payroll records or proof of workers compensation for its workers at the site.

It was one of two stop-work orders issued Friday in town.

Without workers comp, someone who gets hurt can become “a burden to society,” Sullivan said. And without payroll records, there’s no way to ensure that a contractor follows wage laws.

Sullivan called on Yale to act. “We’d like to see a strong policy by Yale addressing our concerns,” he said. Yale should ensure that all contractors and subcontractors are following all labor laws, he said. “Yale never would have tolerated this in the past.”

Sullivan said the fault lies with Whiting and Turner, the contractor overseeing the Berkeley College job.

Two Whiting and Turner supervisors at the site declined to comment.

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posted by: robn on July 29, 2014  8:41am

Subtext, “Hire us next time or we’ll continue to break your stones.”
No wonder construction in New England is the most expensive in the country.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 29, 2014  10:39am

So Workers Compensation coverage is just a suggestion and not a requirement?

And red lights are optional too?

posted by: robn on July 29, 2014  10:56am

DS,

Its not a question of WC, its a question of paperwork storage on site. I’d be curious to know how this came to light in the first place. Does the Carpenter’s union have Department of Labor inspectors on speedial (or maybe on their payroll?)

posted by: Threefifths on July 29, 2014  11:01am

This is why you need a union.

posted by: robn on July 29, 2014  11:03am

DS,

FYI, CT is second worst in the nation for Workers Compensation costs. 3% of our payroll goes toward it and we are 60% higher than the median.

http://www.raisinghale.com/2012/10/12/connecticut-second-worst-workers-comp-costs/

posted by: Big John on July 29, 2014  2:04pm

Saying its a “paperwork” issue is a contractors way of trying to make it seem like it’s just an oversight.  Maybe they were undocumented and making they were receiving cash so that they could undercut the legitimate companies trying to make a buck in an industry where only the developer reaps the rewards.  When will people realize that when these companies and workers don’t pay taxes the honest working man takes a hit.  How about anyone conducting business in Connecticut needs to provide proof that they are actually a business and not just a briefcase.  Guarantee that once they had to be legitimate you wouldn’t see them again.

posted by: ctguy on July 29, 2014  2:05pm

@Robn Just maybe if you want to hire cutrate contractors that do not have payroll records or workers comp do not be surprised when people talk about it. Just maybe if every firm had the insurance required by law the rates would go down. Some states used in the article you cited do not even have workers comp required, is that what you want? Think about who pays taxes for those that do not and who pays hospital bills for those that don’t ... everyone else.

posted by: robn on July 29, 2014  3:54pm

BigJohn,

Lots of “maybes”. Why is it that the carpenters union knew of something wrong but not what exactly is wrong? Maybe because its easier to stand on the curb with propaganda signs suggesting something terrible although “maybe” nothing really significant happened.
The register article notes that nobody knows where the anonymous” tip came from and that NH police were present for the inspection (the same police that routinely fail to enforce basic traffic law in NH which is at the top of the list for most taxpayers). Union thuggery.

posted by: ctguy on July 29, 2014  7:47pm

Robn it does not take a rocket scientist too see this kind of problem on a construction site. Union workers are all over that campus and The GC is known for doing this. The only people that can demand payroll records is the state. Police accompany DoL agents on these visits if they run into problems, which they did at Church and Elm.
As for propaganda want to bet if what they say is accurate? Did you read the Friday Register? Or do you just get your info from Rush and Sean?

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