Our Agenda

2013 Legislative Priorities to Protect Texas Construction Workers

 
We believe that all Texas construction workers deserve safe and dignified working conditions on the job, access to safety training and a career path, fair compensation for their work, and a safety net for workers and their families in the case of a workplace injury. Policy recommendations include:

REQUIRE CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE WORKERS COMPENSATION COVERAGE
Data shows that only 40% of construction workers are covered by workers compensation insurance, and that one in five workers have been seriously injured on the job. Texas construction workers make up a disproportionate amount of uncompensated care costs: 6% of the workforce accounts for nearly 20% of work-related uncompensated care costs. When workers without workers comp get injured on the job, hospitals and taxpayers are forced to pick up the costs, and working families are devastated without the income they depend on. HB 475 by Rep. Walle

REQUIRE REST BREAKS FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS ON GOVERNMENT SITES
Forty-one percent of workers report that they don’t receive rest breaks. Require that employers on state owned and state funded construction sites give their workers a 15 minute break for every four hours of work and compensate workers if they are denied those rest breaks.

MANDATE 10-HOUR OSHA SAFETY TRAININGS ON GOVERNMENT SITES
A shocking 60% of construction workers report that they have never received basic safety training. Texas should require that all employers on state contracts provide their employees with the OSHA 10 hour safety training and that they maintain proof of those trainings on the worksite. Filed as SB167 by Sen. Deuell and HB 493 by Rep. Hernandez Luna

PROTECT WORKERS FROM RETALIATION FOR FILING WAGE CLAIMS
Workers who report legal violations by their employers frequently suffer retaliatory treatment by their employers such as being fired or threatened when they speak up to report wage theft. Additional protections in the labor code will permit workers to report wage violations without having to fear retaliation and create penalties to deter employers from retaliating. Filed as HB298 by Rep. Rodriguez

ENHANCE ENFORCEMENT AGAINST WAGE THEFT
One in five construction workers has experienced wage theft. Wage theft forces working families to face unexpected economic hardship. Texas should strengthen penalties for employers who cheat their workers out of wages. The TWC can start by enforcing the $1000 penalty for employers who demonstrate bad faith. HB 494 by Rep. Hernandez Luna

STRENGTHEN PENALTIES AGAINST PAYROLL FRAUD
Over 40% of construction workers report that their employer misclassified them as an independent contractor in order to get out of paying taxes, leaving their families to shoulder the burden of high taxes at the end of the year. Texas should implement a penalty for employers who commit tax fraud by misclassifying their workers as independent contractors. Filed by HB327 by Rep. Deshotel

TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD A BETTER TEXAS!

WORKERS DEFENSE PROJECT

CONTACT: EMILY@WORKERSDEFENSE.ORG 512-391-2305 EXT 8030