MassCOSH (Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health)* SCALE (Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences) *
The Welcome Project
Exposed at Work An evening of stories, theater and conversation
Hear the stories of immigrant neighbors who gather at dawn, seeking day labor construction jobs to earn their livelihood.
Experience "They Don't Tell You Anything!" -- an original play by Meryl Becker, performed by the SCALE Theater Group, exploring the dilemmas of day laborers in Somerville in2010.
Be part of the conversation as audience and actors explore what we can do to ensure no one must sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living.
Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:30 pmThe Black Box Theater, Elizabeth Peabody House277 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145
Interpretation provided in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Nepali, Mandarin Chinese and PortugueseCo-Sponsors: Brazilian Women's Group * Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) * Somerville Community Corporation * City of Somerville * Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese SpeakersSupported by: Massachusetts Cultural Council * Somerville Council for the Arts * Tufts University * Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese SpeakersThis program was funded in part by Mass Humanities.
The state's highest court ruled that the University of Massachusetts at Lowell violated public construction bidding laws when it awarded a contract for new student housing.
The ruling issued in early May reversed a Superior Court decision, but supported the opinion of the state Attorney General Martha Coakley??s office.
The university had argued that because the developer selected for the project, Brasi Development Corp., would own the new dormitory while leasing it to the university, public bidding laws did not apply.
Brasi had never built student housing and had not been certified by the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) as a ??responsible?? public bidder.
Academic Village Foundation, Inc., an unsuccessful bidder on the project, filed a bid protest notice with the Attorney General, asserting that there had been unfair collusion between the university and Brasi, and that, since Brasi had previously obtained zoning changes permitting it to build a dormitory for the university, Brasi had an unfair advantage in bidding on the current project.
The Foundation for Fair Contracting of Massachusetts filed a separate bid protest on the ground that the proposed dormitory was not a lease, but rather a project to construct a public building, and that the bidding process had failed to comply with the competitive bidding statute.
The Attorney General issued a combined decision concluding that the university??s Request for Proposals (RFP) was a proposal to construct a public building and therefore subject to the competitive bidding statue and the agreement between Brasi and the university was in violation of those laws.
The university tried to terminate its contract with Brasi, however Brasi filed an action against the university and the Attorney General in Superior Court, seeking a decision to show the bid protest decision was incorrect and that the bidding laws did not apply because the dorms would be owned by Brasi and not the university.
The Supreme Judicial Court sided with the Attorney General and held that the long term construction/lease agreement was subject to public bid laws, even if the building is owned by a private developer because it was "dependent on the continued use of university land.??.
In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court said the 2008 deal ?? which has since been abandoned by the school ?? would have granted Brasi Development LLC easements on state property that required a competitive bidding process.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed into law today a bill that increases the fine for employers who illegally lower their costs by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
The bill was sought by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the Chief State's Attorney's Office to go after employers who misclassify employees to avoid paying contributions for unemployment compensation and workers' compensation.
When introducing the proposal in March, Blumenthal said, "This is cheating, plain and simple."
Blumenthal said the fact that Linda McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment hires independent contractors as wrestlers had nothing to do with his timing or push for increased fines.
"There is nothing political about our announcement," he said, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate who eventually could face McMahon, the current leader among three Republicans in the race.
The current fine for misclassification was $300 per incident. The fine now is $300 a day per violation.
In a recent 12-month period, 300 stop-work orders were issued for employer misclassification, according to the Enforcement Commission on Employee Misclassification. For the 1,200 workers misclassified, the Department of Labor collected $90,000 in civil penalties.
Blumenthal said the problem is costing the state millions every year from the state having to pick up the medical and workers compensation costs for employees deemed independent contractors.
Department of Revenue Services BETA Unit audits related to worker misclassification assessed $1,222,869 in additional tax. For the current fiscal year, there have been 39 worker misclassification audits completed, resulting in additional tax of $780,219.
In the construction business, companies that misclassify workers are able to underbid legitimate contractors, said Don Shubert of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association.