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|Articles - September 2011|
|Wednesday, August 24, 2011|
Page 4 of 5
In response to the problem, the state in 2009 granted new training and collaborative powers to a “compliance team” of investigators from the departments of employment, revenue and consumer and business services as well as BOLI. The compliance team shares information to crack down on the underground economy and restore lost tax revenues. As with the union officials, Avakian says the state does not investigate whether or not the workers are undocumented. “It’s irrelevant from our standpoint,” he says. “If a worker is on the job, they are entitled to get the legal wage that they’ve earned.”
Avakian says he often hears complaints from contractors who play by the rules only to get beat out by cheaters.
Mike Salsgiver, executive director of the Oregon-Columbia branch of the Association of General Contractors, says the underground economy is “not an issue of concern to our members. We’ve put a lot of resources into making sure our members have the tools to comply with the law.”
Other contractors such as Mike Roach, president of Western Partitions, say they are extremely familiar with the problem, and sick of it. Western Partitions is a Portland-based contractor with offices in Eugene, Spokane and Seattle. A few years ago the firm had about 1,200 people working on various sites throughout the Northwest; now that’s down to about 500.
“We bid on prevailing-wage jobs and get beat by substantial dollars,” Roach says. “There’s no way they’re not cheating. If they’re not paying taxes, workers’ comp or benefits, they have a huge edge on you.Some of these people are in it for 10 bucks an hour. I was making 10 bucks an hour in the trades back in the ’70s. You just can’t compete with that.”
Most of the Latino workers Sanchez talks to on job sites around Portland are earning about $12 an hour, down from $15 a few years ago. Union apprentices in Oregon start at around $18 per hour, with benefits; with experience wages and benefits rise to over $42 per hour.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
BY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
What does it take to launch and run one of these mobile food businesses?
Monday, June 16, 2014
The Oregon economy could get a boost from a new trade agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
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