Construction is a $150 billion industry in California, with nearly 285,000 active firms employing almost a million workers. According to the 2012 Economic Census, more than 22% of Construction in California is financed by federal, state, or local government.
Construction jobs have long offered ladders to stable middle class careers. However, the explosion of wage theft in the industry is having just the opposite effect.
- Wage theft impacts one in six California construction workers, and the problem has grown by almost 400% since 1972.
- In 2011 alone, construction industry wage theft cost workers more than $1.2 billion, and cost taxpayers another $774 million.
- Construction workers in the UndergroundEconomy earn half of what properly reported workers earn, and are three times more likely to live in poverty.
While the mobility of many construction employers presents unique challenges to the filing of claims and collection of wage theft judgments, construction is also an industry where many employers depend on government—for permitting, licensing, oversight, approval, and occupancy of projects.
This presents an opportunity for individual citizens, watchdog groups, communities, and elected leaders at all levels of government to come together and compliment the work of state enforcement agencies by improving outreach to affected populations and incentivizing the employer transparency and accountability that’s needed to prevent wage theft.
Facilitating these critical reforms is what www.StopWageTheftCA.org is all about.
Percent of California Construction Workers in the Underground Economy