The UC Berkeley Labor Center published a research brief on the public cost of underpaying construction workers in New York State.
“We find that 41% of families of construction workers in New York are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $2 billion per year. By comparison, among all New York workers, 33% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly one quarter (24%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in New York (7%).”
“The low wages and exploitative practices in the construction industry, both in New York and nationally, cause profound hardship for workers and their families. It also costs the public. When employers misclassify their workers or pay them under the table, they are defunding and defrauding government programs, including workers’ compensation, Social Security, and Medicare.”
The solution to this problem lies in union construction jobs, which pay workers fairly and provide them with insurance and other benefits. This means union construction workers can support themselves and their families, saving taxpayer money in the long term and making New York affordable for all.
Read the full report here: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the New York Construction Industry