Wage theft has become a major problem in the non-union construction industry. Many in the labor movement are insisting on strengthening prevailing wage laws to help working people.
Prevailing wage laws help prevent wage theft, but how effective are the laws? Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski addressed the current state of the laws and what can be done to hold employers more accountable on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Wage theft negatively affects local economies
Prevailing wage laws were put in place to make sure that construction workers are paid a living wage, but they also help prevent wage theft.
Wondolowski said that even though there are laws in place, wage theft still runs rampant in the construction industry with non-union workers.
He said the Biden administration will be hiring an attorney to go after wage theft and issue stricter penalties to those caught doing it. Wondolowski noted that wage theft is destructive to communities by stripping them of money that would have flowed through their economy via tax revenue and spending.
With expectations that the Biden Administration appointed attorney will crack down on wage theft, there comes hope that the playing field for construction will be evened out. Right now it is already difficult for unions to compete against non-union contractors. Wondolowski expressed that he is hopeful that wage theft will be dealt with soon.
COVID rescue plan
Multiemployer pension plans have been a discussion point for years now. Finally, there is a multiemployer pension protection plan expected to be in the COVID-19 rescue package.
Wondolowski mentioned that lawmakers are ensuring there will be laws put in place in order to keep pension trustees accountable and keep the plans in good financial standing. After years of talking about a multiemployer pension plan, there is finally being action taken to protect them.
Wondolowski also discussed various projects happening in Cleveland and throughout northeast Ohio, including the Sherwin Williams Headquarters project in downtown Cleveland.