After reading about The Problem, you have come to realize the significant risks that labor brokers pose to your construction project. So how do you, as a project owner or general contractor, protect yourself from the hidden dangers lurking on your job site?
We hope that after reviewing the information on this website, you will convey to all your subcontractors that they are not welcome on your projects until they institute and verify the following reforms:
Your subcontractors should be directly accountable to the general contractor as well as to their own employees. As we have seen, in hiring a labor broker the subcontractor is merely attempting to insulate itself from liability and accountability for unlawful and disreputable conduct occurring on your job site. You need to place that liability and accountability squarely back where it belongs: on the subcontractor. This can be done by insisting that any contract between the general contractor and a subcontractor require that all work in the subcontract package be performed by the subcontractor’s own employees.
If you allow your contractors or subcontractors to pay wages and benefits below the established standards in your area, then you are contributing to the erosion of those standards. In our opinion, communities suffer when contractors fail to pay area-standard wages and benefits. You have an obligation to your community to see that area labor standards are met for construction work at all your projects. We firmly believe that you should not be allowed to insulate yourself from responsibility merely because you have hired a general contractor or construction manager to make decisions on contractor hiring.
A contractor’s reliance on labor brokers is harmful to workers and a destabilizing force in the construction industry. Use of these types of labor brokers puts workers at greater risk of abuse and makes enforcement of their rights even more difficult. This risk is most acute in the case of Hispanic immigrant workers, who are especially vulnerable to mistreatment and financial exploitation. Most Hispanic immigrants are not aware of the legal rights afforded them in the United States. But even if they are, they are generally reluctant to seek enforcement of those rights, for fear of being retaliated against or, in the case of undocumented aliens and H2B visa holders, summarily deported.