A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Misclassification: Driving the Race to the Bottom

In a message posted last February by Mark H. Ayers, president of Building & Construction Trades Department, Mr. Ayers expresses his frustration with the prevalent practice of misclassification of workers in order to get away with under-compensating workers in the industry.  One major side-effect of misclassification is workers not receiving deserved benefits such as health insurance.  Ayres points out that lack of affordable health care options for those who are misclassified as independent contractors results in high numbers of uninsured workers.  This ultimately costs the taxpayers money in higher emergency room costs for the uninsured and their families.  Ayres writes: 

“The construction industry – again, an industry dominated by the utilization of a low-wage, low-skill workforce – saddles the U.S. health care system with the highest injury and illness rate among all private industries.  In fact, it has the highest rate of non-fatal injuries and illnesses of any American industry, and it has three times the fatality rate of other private industries.  Accordingly, construction accounts for the highest rate of injuries and illnesses entering our nation’s hospitals - particularly hospital emergency services.”

The “race to the bottom”, including the lack of benefits offered, is accelerated when contractors, pressured by “low-bid” demands of owners, developers and institutions, “employ this strategy of assembling a low-wage, low-skill, exploitable workforce for competitive advantage, and thereby force once-reputable firms to do likewise in order to compete.”

Is your company in a “race to the bottom” or taking the higher road?

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