Collaboration Reaps The Right Rewards
CALPASC Sees Continued Collaboration of California Agencies to Combat Underground Economy as Necessary
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — According to a recent news announcement from California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su, Green Valley Landscaping Services, a Sacramento landscaping company, was cited for more than $650,000 in wage theft violations. Owned by Michael Mello, the company was cited for theft violations affecting as many as 43 employees who were underpaid and misclassified as independent contractors from August 2010 to August 2013. The Labor Commissioner’s investigation was initiated in May 2012 after receiving a complaint and individual wage and misclassification claims. A joint inspection, conducted by the California Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), a multi-agency effort to fight against the underground economy, found that the landscaping company was reporting fewer than 10 employees on its payroll, while in reality employing 43.
Working with the California Department of Industrial Relations and the Labor Commissioner’s office, the California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC), which serves as a key leader of a construction coalition, sees the ongoing efforts of LETF as necessary to spotlight the abuse of unlawful contractors thriving in the underground economy while abusing California’s economy.
The following statement may be attributed to California Landscape Contractors Association’s President and The Village Gardner, Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Frank Niccoli:
“In addition to cheating their workers, contractors who violate wage laws gain an unfair advantage over legitimate contractors, who are priced out of the market because their wages inevitably show up as higher project estimates.”
The following statements may be attributed to CALPASC’s Director of Risk Management Bruce Wick:
“This investigation shows that effective and targeted enforcement is a win/win. Employees who are being taken advantage of are recompensed, and legitimate contractors are given back a more level playing field.
“Serial violators like Green Valley Landscaping Services need to be brought into compliance or leave the business. Strong enforcement says those are their only two choices.”
The following statements may be attributed to CALPASC’s Executive Director Brad Diede:
“When assuming their roles, the Labor Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations committed to working with other state agencies to focus on flagrant and serial violators in construction; consequently, cheating construction contractors should pay heed.
“The LETF has grown to become an extremely effective mechanism for the public and legitimate construction contractors to access when seeking help after seeing unscrupulous behavior in the field.
“Landscaping is an area, along with many other areas of construction, where the underground economy continues to thrive. We appreciate legitimate contractors not giving in to cheating, and we also appreciate the state agencies stepping up the pace to catch the cheaters.”
SOURCE CALPASC: California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors