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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.
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.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.
Friday, August 15, 2014
In this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Oregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE
I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
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