September 1, 2017
Construction Worker Shortage Could Weigh on Harvey Recovery
NEW YORK — A nationwide shortage of construction workers may slow rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which caused extensive flood damage to homes and businesses and is set to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Nine years after the housing bust drove an estimated 30 percent of construction workers into new fields, the supply of skilled and unskilled labor remains tight at all levels of experience, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.
In Texas alone, which is in the middle of a building boom, 69 percent of contractors were having trouble filling positions before the storm hit, according to a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America.
August 30, 2017
New Focus on Apprenticeships - New Jersey Business Magazine
Ideally, a business could hire someone right out of school or off the street to fill a job opening and get a new employee who has been properly trained for the position. Anyone who has tried to hire someone recently knows this is not the world in which we live. The need for skilled workers continues to grow, both in New Jersey and nationally, and that need has brought new life to an old idea – apprenticeships.
New Jersey’s skilled labor shortage is one of the biggest. We have more job openings per-capita than any other state in the nation except one. It’s not just a lack of college graduates; many businesses have jobs that require specific technical skills that still require post-secondary education, just not a full bachelor’s degree.
An apprenticeship could help fill this void. It’s an on-the-job training program that allows an employee to learn a craft or trade while being employed and paid by the company or organization sponsoring the training. Most trade unions have apprenticeships, but now the idea is expanding to other types of businesses that need employees in the middle skill level. An employer does not need government permission to start an apprenticeship program, but any job that requires certification or a license will likely need to be a registered apprenticeship.
August 28, 2017
$100 Million Money Laundering Scheme
June 15, 2017
Contractor accused of scamming $1.5M arrested in South Carolina
Make sure a home improvement contractor is registered with the state before you hire one. STAFF iPHONE VIDEO BY DAVID P. WILLIS
Jamie Lynn Lawson
(Photo: South Carolina Department of Corrections)
A home contractor who was on the run since he was accused in December of stealing more than $1.5 million from numerous clients was arrested Thursday morning at an extended-stay hotel in Florence, South Carolina, according to the U.S. Marshal's office in New Jersey.
James "Jamie" Lynn Lawson, 42, the owner of Brick-based Lawson Renovations LLC/J&N Construction, was considered a fugitive and wanted by the U.S. Marshals and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, the agency that began an investigation into the contractor's business. Lawson went on the lam in mid-December, shortly after he was indicted in Ocean County Superior Court on theft and fraud charges.
ALSO: Sandy contractor indicted on fraud charges
Authorities alleged Lawson skipped from state to state in search of natural disasters and people who relied on contractors to rebuild their homes in the wake of chaos.
He moved to New Jersey shortly around the time Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey shore in 2012. The Division of Consumer Affairs, the agency that licenses numerous types of contractors, authorized Lawson's application to become a home improvement contractor, reportedly unaware he had criminal convictions in other states.
Jamie Lawson, 41, of Brick.
Jamie Lawson, 41, of Brick. (Photo: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)
Over the years, Lawson lived in numerous states but was accused of offenses often related to fraud and theft in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina. Watch the video at the top of this page to learn how to hire the right contractor.
ALSO: Sandy contractor on the lam
Since Lawson became a fugitive in December, the Ocean County Prosecutor's office said the contractor moved around these various southern states:
Port Lavaca, TX
St. Louis. MO
Lawson is at a local jail in South Carolina, according to NJ Advance Media. He is expected to be extradited to New Jersey.
April 23, 2017
Worcester carpenters’ union to hold Front Street rally
WORCESTER — A rally protesting a subcontractor allegedly paying below area wages and benefits will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday outside 145 Front St., where construction of a rental housing complex is underway.
In an announcement about the rally, Carpenters Local 107 of Worcester said that subcontractor P&B Partitions of West Berlin, New Jersey, which is working on the complex, has a history of wage and hour violations.
March 27, 2017
OSHA investigates New Square construction fall
A construction worker was transported to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla on Friday after he fell from the second-floor of a work site in the Village of New Square.
March 23, 2017
Picatinny Arsenal employee charged with conspiracy to defraud U.S., bribery
A Stroudsburg, Pa., man working for the U.S. Army at Picatinny Arsenal has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the country and accepting bribes for allegedly asking for and accepting bribes for government and personal work, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
March 6, 2017
Building 'in the shadows': N.J. trade unions hope to reinvigorate discussion on regulating underground construction economy
The way Bill Sproule sees it, there are no winners in New Jersey's underground construction economy.
March 2, 2017
Union Fund Uses NY False Claims Act to Blow Whistle on Prevailing Wage Violator and Recover $33,750
In the first reported case of its kind in New York, in February a union fund received a five-figure settlement payment from a Harlem-based general contractor that worked on a New York City affordable housing project after the fund blew the whistle on the contractor’s failure to pay prevailing wages. The fund filed a whistleblower complaint under the N.Y. False Claims Act, which allows a whistleblower to file a qui tam lawsuit if it knows of and reports violations of the Act. The Act makes liable entities that knowingly present to the state or local government false or fraudulent claims for payment or avoid their obligations to pay the state or a local government. State of New York v. A. Aleem Construction, Inc.
February 14, 2017
N.J. company named among worst for wage theft fined $3.2 million
The New York City Comptroller levied a huge fine on a Parsippany company that cheated dozens of workers, mostly immigrant laborers, out of millions of dollars in wages for work on city projects.
K.S. Contracting, owned by Paresh Shah, was ordered to pay $3.2 million and will also be barred from receiving state contracts for five years.
February 14, 2017
Parsippany contractor fined $3.2M for underpaying immigrant labor
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Tuesday assessed $3.2 million in fines against a Parsippany-based contractor for cheating dozens of workers out of the prevailing wages and benefits they were owed under the New York State Labor Law.
February 13, 2017
Charged Developer Also Built Crystal Run Projects
The developer for two projects in the Hudson Valley that the Cuomo administration awarded $25 million - even though they were already being built - was Columbia Development, the Albany-based firm whose principal is facing a state bid-rigging charge in a unrelated matter.
February 13, 2017
More people needed in the skilled trades, experts say
Not enough workers are going into the building trades, and that could place a speed bump on economic development effort in the Mohawk Valley, experts say.
"It's hard to find a young man that wants to go into the trades. Or a woman," said Bobby Catrombone, owner of RFC Contracting Inc. in Utica.
February 10, 2017
Trades shortage looming
An increasing shortage of experienced restoration trades people has led to concern about the future preservation of historical homes and landmarks across the region.
The Landmark Society of Western New York Inc. has taken up the cause to bolster a dwindling workforce that it fears could not be replaced once current craftsmen retire. The trades include specialized work in masonry, window restoration and roof repair.
February 8, 2017
LPCiminelli Claims Bid-Rigging Case Has Cost Company Billions
An attorney for fomer LPCiminelli CEO Louis Ciminelli claimed the Buffalo-based development company has lost $3.88 billion dollars worth of inventory and work because of the company’s alleged involvement in a bid-rigging scheme. According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, about 21 contracts were lost or canceled in 2015 and 2016.
February 6, 2017
Politicians call for more apprenticeships to fill need for skilled labor
New Jersey's federal and state politicians are proposing plans to expand apprenticeship programs, through public-private partnership funding, in order to fill skilled labor jobs that remain vacant in the U.S.
Though there are roughly 10 million unemployed individuals in the country, 4 million jobs exist in manufacturing and other skilled labor jobs, according to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
February 5, 2017
MCVTS expands carpentry program
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District has expanded its partnership with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and will now offer carpentry training to students at its Perth Amboy campus. Previously available only to students on the East Brunswick and Piscataway campuses, the program, through the New Jersey Carpenters Apprentice Training and Education Fund, provides high school juniors and senior with a path to an apprenticeship program after graduation.
January 18, 2017
Moonachie's Bison Floors owner charged with fraud
An Illinois man has been arrested as a result of a investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Financial Crimes Unit.
January 17, 2017
Games GCs and Subs (Labor Brokers and Insurance Agents) Play: Worker’s Comp
A recent post by Joe Paduda, principal of Health Strategies Associates, in his blog, Managed Care Matters, titled “Construction Labor Fraud is Screwing Everyone” was the second in his series on labor fraud and the damage it is doing to the insurance industry. In this issue, he interviewed Matt Capece, representative of the General President at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, about how bad the worker’s comp problem has become in some key states like Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
October 23, 2015
Contractor formally charged in workplace scam
Northampton County contractor was charged Friday with violating state law regarding the hiring of employees, and lying about it to a grand jury.
Mark J. White, 48, owner of Salukas & White Contracting Inc. in Bethlehem, said little during a 30-minute arraignment by District Judge Antonia Grifo of Easton.
Grifo told White, of the 100 block of Becker Avenue in Allen Township, that he faces three misdemeanor counts of violating the state Contractor Workplace Misclassification Act and two counts each of perjury and false swearing.
She said the maximum penalties for the charges are 21 years in prison and a $45,000 fine, with most of the potential punishment stemming from the perjury and false-swearing allegations.
District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday that a county grand jury found White violated the act by misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors — instead of employees — to avoid paying fair wages as well as taxes and workers' benefits such as unemployment insurance.
Morganelli says Bethlehem contractor cheated workers, state
In addition, the grand jury found that from 2011 through 2013, White and the company funneled nearly $900,000 to individuals, one of whom was described as a middleman, who "acted as ATM machines" in paying those workers off the books. The actions defrauded the state and other entities of thousands of dollars in taxes, authorities allege.
The grand jury began investigating White and his company in April 2014. Jurors heard from a former company employee, the "so-called subcontractors" and a current employee. Jurors determined those people gave credible testimony, while White, who testified Aug. 20, did not, Morganelli said this week.
ifo noted both the company and White are charged with the state law violations.
White appeared with his attorney, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, who said his client has no prior criminal record. Fitzpatrick also said White is a longstanding member of the community with family and business ties.
"He has appeared here today voluntarily," Fitzpatrick told Grifo. "There is no reason to set bail."
The judge released White on his own recognizance without bail. But she set conditions, including that he must not intimidate or retaliate against any of the alleged victims or witnesses. She scheduled a preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Nov. 2.
Neither White nor Fitzpatrick answered questions before the arraignment, and they left court immediately afterward. Fitzpatrick, who said he represents both White and the company, told The Morning Call earlier that White "emphatically denies" the accusations and White intends to present his side during trial.
The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, which took effect in 2011, is supposed to crack down on contractors who misclassify workers, but during a news conference Monday, Morganelli said the law has deficiencies and called on lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf to strengthen it.
Morganelli also said the grand jury's findings were being forwarded to the state Department of Labor & Industry, which enforces the law, and the IRS.
Salukas & White is a commercial specialty subcontractor dealing in metal stud, drywall and acoustical ceilings, and its customers come from a 70-mile radius of Bethlehem, according to its website.
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