A new report whose authors label it a “call to action” shows that construction workers in the South get little or no employment benefits and comparatively low pay. The 68-page report—Build a Better South: Construction Working Conditions in the Southern U.S.—was put together by the Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, and the College of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois. The authors surveyed workers in six Southern states. Among other things, they found:
- 40 percent of Houston, Texas, construction workers had no health insurance, paid vacations, or sick leave
- 30 percent said they got no on-the-job breaks and that their employer did not provide drinking water.
- 5 percent of the 1,435 workers interviewed said workers' compensation covered the cost of their work injuries.
- 24 percent of surveyed Nashville construction workers have suffered an on-the-job injury, four times higher than the national average compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But fewer than one in five got workers compensation as a result.
- Many employers do not provide basic safety equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, or gloves.
- 57 percent of workers said they earned less than $15 an hour.
- 11 percent have experienced wage theft. The authors calculated the six-state losses to such thieving employers at $29.8 million annually.
- 32% were misclassified as independent contractors, which means they were denied rights to a minimum wage and overtime payments. It also means they had to personally cover what should have been their employer’s share of payroll taxes.
Excuse me for thinking that the criminal aspects of this situation will not draw the attention of the Department of Justice under J.B. Sessions III. He will instead be busy seeing that the federal government does its part while “encouraging” state governments to do their part in ensuring that the War on Drugs™ continues to ruin as many lives as possible for no reason other than pure ignorance and malignity.