A number of policy questions come into play with GoLocalProv’s coverage of a labor union’s picketing a project receiving Commerce RI tax credits.
As a result of the investigation on 4/24/18 it has been substantiated that JS Interior Construction has misclassified 27 employees as independent contractors and has failed to pay wages to the employees in violation of R.I. General Law 28-14-19. Misclassification of Employees — (a) The misclassification of a worker whether performing work as a natural person, business, corporation or entity of any kind, as an independent contractor when the worker should be considered and paid as an employee shall be considered a violation of this chapter.
If I’m interpreting the story correctly, a builder hired workers as subcontractors in order to avoid burdensome laws that prevent workers from agreeing to work for less than an arbitrary level set by government. Labor unions push for these laws in order to make their competition less competitive, and politicians agree to these laws in order to secure financial and boots-on-the-ground support from labor unions.
The first issue is that the state government shouldn’t be subsidizing private-sector projects in the state because bureaucrats have judged them worthy. The second issue is that the state government shouldn’t be restricting the rights of Rhode Islanders to agree to pay rates agreeable to both parties, especially as a systemic subsidy to private labor unions.
But the eye catcher of this issue is the labor union picketing a project ultimately (I’d suggest) because a non-union shop got the job. What would you think of a company that sent its employees to picket another business that was out-competing it — or, more accurately, to picket a client because he or she chose a different contractor?
That’s obviously offensive, but labor unions fit the progressive narrative and (more importantly) the progressive money-flow scheme, so it’s not only tolerated, but lauded.