As a follow-up to PR Campaign Wins Back BAC Work in Oklahoma
(Issue 3-2011), the Journal is pleased to report that on May 25th, an Oklahoma bill requiring all contractors to provide employer identification numbers when bidding on public construction projects was signed into law, bringing much needed relief to state contractors that have been severely undermined by unethical out-of-state contractors in the past few years.
Effective November 1st, the measure will increase penalties levied against out-of-state contractors that fail to register and crack down on employers that intentionally misclassify workers as independent contractors instead of employees to avoid paying workers' compensation and unemployment insurance, and Social Security.
The bill's genesis and eventual enactment is due in large measure to a comprehensive education and public relations campaign initiated by Local 5 OK/AR/TX/NM and masonry contractors throughout the state, alarmed by the growing loss of public construction work to fly-by-night, out-of-state contractors "who are underbidding local subcontractors by cheating the system," says Local 5 President Ed Navarro. "Hundreds of our members and contractors spoke up and took actions. We wrote letters to the state legislators regarding the issue and worked closely with media to expose the unfair competition. We are glad that our voice was well heard by the business community, legislators, and general contractors."
On March 6th, Local 5 officers organized members and state masonry contractors to bring the issue to the attention of a Senate hearing at the State Capitol, where they proposed a registration law requiring all contractors to register and prove they are legitimate prior to doing any work or even bidding on work.
"It's a huge success for our members," says Local 5 President Ed Navarro. "Together we made it happen. With the new law's protection, BAC contractors will enjoy fairer business competition in Oklahoma."