Independent Contractors

The classification of independent contractors is a major issue for the labor community. Some employers classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying additional taxes, workers’ compensation, and other costs associated with hiring employees.


Consequences of Independent Contracting

Independent contracting is often used in the trades when an employer needs temporary labor to complete a project. This practice is dangerous for workers and has a negative effect on their wages and benefits.

Employers classify workers as independent contractors in order to pay less taxes. Employers give independent contractors a paycheck, but they do not withhold taxes for benefits. This allows employers to avoid paying into Social Security and Medicare. Additionally, employers do not have to provide benefits, like healthcare and retirement benefits, to independent contractors.

Contractors who employ independent contractors do not carry workers’ compensation for these employees. If you’re working as an independent contractor and are injured on the job, you are responsible for all costs associated with the injury.

Since the purpose of misclassifying workers as independent contractors is a tactic for employers to cut costs associated with hiring employees, independent contractors may not be put through necessary training. Training in the pipe trades is essential to avoid project shutdowns, injuries, and deaths.


Benefits of Collective Bargaining

Employees working under collective bargaining agreements tend to fare much better than those working as independent contractors. Collective bargaining provides employees with an agreed-upon wage between labor and project managers and benefits that can be enjoyed by workers and their families into retirement.

Healthcare is one of the largest expenses American families have to budget for if it is not covered by their employer. Collective bargaining agreements establish benefits like family health insurance, helping U.S. families reduce healthcare expenses.

Collective bargaining also benefits local communities. Local workers are used under collective bargaining agreements, and this workforce is more likely to put money back into the local economy.

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