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To fight wage theft, San Diego adopts stricter transparency rules for city contractors

Contractors performing work for the City of San Diego face stricter transparency and accountability measures designed to prevent wage theft and create a more level playing field among themselves.

The City Council voted Monday to approve the new measures, which amend San Diego municipal code to require contractors applying for building permits to disclose a host of new information before work on a project begins.

The information includes workers’ compensation policy numbers, state contractor licenses, city business licenses and any labor enforcement actions against the contractor — whether pending or prior to the application.

Those details must be provided for every contractor and subcontractor on a project, a requirement that construction industry leaders have called overly aggressive.

The proposal will not apply to most small projects. The new disclosures will be required for residential and mixed-use projects of 20 or more units and commercial or industrial projects of at least 20,000 square feet.

“We must do our part to ensure that workers in San Diego have access to safe jobs, free from exploitation and labor violations,” said Council Member Raul Cabillo.

Supporters say the changes will help law-abiding contractors who face an uneven playing field when they have to compete with contractors who break the rules.

While critics of the new policies acknowledge that fighting worker exploitation is worthwhile, they argue that the changes go too far, allowing the city to issue a stop-work order if disclosures are missing from any contractor or subcontractor.

“If you stop working, workers go home without pay,” said Lori Holt Feiler, chief executive of the local chapter of the Construction Industry Association.

Contractors say it can be difficult to provide timely disclosures for each of their subcontractors because they sometimes don’t know every subcontractor they will use. But city officials say contractors can quickly submit the information via cellphone from job sites.

Local labor union leaders have embraced the changes, arguing they will allow the city to hold bad actors accountable for wage theft and other illegal labor practices.

To fight wage theft, San Diego adopts stricter transparency rules for city contractors Source link To fight wage theft, San Diego adopts stricter transparency rules for city contractors

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