Who are the Bandits?
First of all I have to tell you that I think that the subcontractors who hire day laborers, work them 12-14 hours a day, and then don’t pay them their base pay or even the overtime that they are due are bandits. They steal from the workers, they steal taxes from the state, they steal from the IRS, and ultimately they steal from you and me.
I don’t much care for that at all.
On top of that they expose the workers to unsafe jobsite conditions, and they take the chance that the construction is not high quality, so that you and I get exposed to the possibility of injury or worse when we occupy those unsafe buildings and apartments.
In the down economy when jobs are scarce, bids only ring the bell when they are much lower than the competition. Workers are working by the foot or by the brick or by the piece of drywall, and the bandits who hire them are underbidding reasonable subs on a daily basis.
How do you recognize those Bandit companies? Easy. If you speak Spanish (or know a friend who does), you can stop by a jobsite during a meal break and hang out around the sandwich truck. Some of the workers will share with you.
Another way is to drive by the jobsite on the weekend. If workers are onsite, typically they are working for the bandits and are trying to hang or bang as many pieces of lumber or drywall as they can.
And you can tell those bandit sites by noticing that workers do not have hard hats on, are not wearing harnesses and do not have any fall protection to prevent them from being injured on the job.
Or you can drive by the sites where the day laborers hang out waiting for an opportunity to work for these bandits to pick up enough cash to help feed their families.
The bandit sites are easy to spot. It is time to stop them before they steal more of your tax monies and injure or even kill another worker in your town or city. We’d like to get pictures and stories about those bandit sites from you so that we can “call them out” and change the way they are doing business.
Time for a change. As the economy turns around, it is important that the owners demand this change on their projects, and general contractors demand it from their subs. One way to do that is to endorse the Construction Career Collaborative program that has been developed by the AGC in Houston, or to organize a similar initiative in your community.