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|Articles - July 2011|
|Wednesday, June 22, 2011|
They are protesting the contractor’s alleged use of low-wage, underground labor. The subcontractor pictured is Stephen Nagy, formerly president of S&S Drywall Assemblies, arrested January 2011 and charged with racketeering, theft and other crimes related to shady business practices. S&S has shut down its Hillsboro office and disconnected its phone line while Nagy awaits trial.
Ben Basom of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters says the campaign targets the all-too-common practice of general contractors hiring subcontractors that undercut prevailing wage rates by paying cash and avoiding taxes. Basom says the union is sharing information with public agencies to protect the prevailing wage and benefit package of $41 per hour for carpenters.
“The more digging we do into the underground economy, the more we’re uncovering,” says Basom, noting that companies that pay under the table can undercut legitimate subcontractors by 15% to 30%.
S.D. Deacon has been named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon based on past employee surveys conducted by Oregon Business (contract employees do not participate in the surveys). General Manager Brad Howe says the company’s policy is to “take the lowest responsible bid,” and to double-check bids that come in suspiciously low.
Howe says S.D. Deacon “had no knowledge about what might have been going on behind the scenes” at S&S Drywall. He disputes the union’s characterization of what makes a fair wage. “The standard wage in the union’s mind is their wage,” he says. “We don’t necessarily agree.”
Workers say they will continue to demonstrate in front of S.D. Deacon for “as long as it takes.” Meanwhile, the union has its own house to clean up. Last year the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America stepped in to take over 1,200-member Local 247 in Portland after charging that local officials were mismanaging money. Basom says the union is consolidating nine locals in Oregon and Southwest Washington into one office in Oregon City to make union operations “more efficient and financially sound.”
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C.
Friday, May 15, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON
Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.
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