Shailesh Patel and Jayshree Patel Revocable Trust, hired general contractor Jansen Construction out of Oregon. Jansen then subcontracted construction work to PacWest Contracting LLC another Oregon outfit. Neither contractors are licenced to do business in California. Pacwest hired workers as "Independent Contractors" so they could underpay to the point that they were paid by "piecework" that could actually leave them being paid less than minimum wage. Workers were forced to use their own tools and weren't provided adequate safety equipment. And then to top it off......their checks bounced. A perfect storm of workers being ripped off.
What to do if you are that worker? Humboldt County no longer has a Labor Commissioner locally, and the closest office is in Redding. So that is not a great option. So some decided to visit the local
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 751 office at the Labor Temple. Even though they were not union workers, they knew the union would protect their workers rights! And they did. The local filed a report of labor law violations against the project and won! Not only that, but another subcontractor from Oregon named Lupton Construction working on the project was fined for Cal/OSHA violations.
The investigation was conducted by the California Labor Enforcement Task Force that was formed to battle "Underground Economy." The Department of Industrial Relations release says: "Businesses operating underground generally violate those laws that are designed to protect workers and California's economy. Skirting income taxes, not carrying workers compensation insurance, failing to provide required workspace safeguards and paying employees less than what they are owed are common practices of underground businesses. These underground operations subsequently require lower overhead, giving unfair advantage to the illegal businesses over legitimate, law-abiding employers."
Now you workers! Go sign up to be union! "UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG!"
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