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IRS, US DOL to cooperate with state enforcement on misclassification Posted by on

The United States Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service yesterday signed Memorandums of Understanding with seven states to increase compliance with laws governing how workers should be classified and paid. Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the states participating. The efforts will focus on both education of employees and increased efficiency of enforcement through information-sharing between state and federal agencies, according to a DOL press release.

Wage theft and the misclassification of workers at so-called independent contractors has been a growing problem in the construction industry and others. Employers use the tactic to avoid proper payment of payroll taxes, unemployment and workers' compensation insurance. The practice is particularly troubling in the construction industry, where companies that play by the rules are put at a significant advantage during competitive bidding.

The effort expands the model used in numerous states, including five of the six New England states, where multiple agencies work together on a task force to ensure violations of some laws aren't allowed to pass because they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the agency that happens to be investigating.

News coverage
Associated Press

Resources on the issue of misclassification and wage theft:
Wage theft stories on NERCCBlog.
1099 and Misclassification stories on NERCCBlog.
National comprehensive resource page.

Donahue appointed to NH Commission Posted by on

A New Hampshire commission established to consider and make recommendations on existing and potential new business regulations will include the voice of union carpenters. Joe Donahue, a member of Local 118 and employee of the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program was appointed by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch to the "Commission to Study Business Regulations in New Hampshire," a body established by legislative action earlier this year.

The commission will "study business regulations in New Hampshire, the impact they have on employment growth and business profitability, and the costs and benefits associated with the current regulatory environment. The goals of the commission shall be to:

(a) Review New Hampshire’s business oversights that fall under the umbrella of labor and workforce regulations.

(b) Review New Hampshire’s business oversights that fall under the umbrella of environmental and construction/permitting regulations.

(c) Identify potential reforms that could be made to regulations cited above, and develop legislation for the 2012 session to accomplish those reforms."

Donahue has extensive experience in political and legislative issues relating to the construction industry in New Hampshire and has been a key player in the efforts to improve enforcement, particularly relating to the issue of the misclassificaiton of workers.

Local 1305's Rego wins primary Posted by on

Dan Rego, a member of Carpenters Local 1305 and a full-time Representative working for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, has qualified for the general election for Fall River City Council after results were announced for the preliminary election last night.

The election was contested by 22 candidates, vying for 18 general election positions on the ballot that will elect nine members to the Council. Rego finished eighth, defeating two incumbent Councilors, including the Council President and a 28-year member of the Council.

Rego is seeking public office for the first time and was encouraged by the results, but said a seat on the Council will still require a fight.

"The results were very close and there are a few candidates who have been around a long time and may be able to pull some votes for the general election," he said. "But I'm very excited about the results and plan to work really hard to do even better in November."

To say every vote will count in the general election is not an exaggeration. With just over 10,000 ballots cast, Rego earned 3,039 votes, only 400 votes from finishing second, but also less than 50 votes from tenth.

Members that would like to help Rego's campaign by volunteering or making a donation, may contact him through Local 1305.

Local 218's Frost again featured on NPR Posted by on

Last year Local 218 Carpenter Bill Frost became quite a visible supporter of the legalization and construction of resort casinos in Massachusetts. He spoke at hearing and rallies, eventually writing and reading a commentary in support of casinos at the request of WBUR, a Boston National Public Radio affiliate. Frost's commentary was honored with a national award from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.

With the casino debate being taken up by the Massachusetts legislature today, Frost was once again asked by WBUR to write and read a new commentary piece on the issue. It aired today and can be read and listened to on their website.

Wentworth Institute of Technology is a great insti... Posted by on

Wentworth Institute of Technology is a great institution for individuals looking to take their construction careers to a whole new level.

Obama bringing construction industry good news tonight? Posted by on

The Boston Globe on Obama's speech tonight.

"Obama is likely to offer a package of ideas that would affect people in their daily lives -- tax relief, unemployment insurance, spending to support construction jobs, aid to states to keep people in their jobs."
"White House officials said Obama would formally send his plan -- coined by the administration as the American Jobs Act -- to Congress next week."
"In one upbeat sign for those looking for a Washington compromise, Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have told Obama they see potential areas of agreement on jobs -- for example, infrastructure, which Obama has pushed repeatedly. Cantor also signaled to reporters Wednesday that he might support a payroll tax cut."