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June 6, 2018

Statement by Randy Thornhill, Executive Secretary-Treasurer,

Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC) 

DENVER, CO – Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order this week creating a joint task force to address tax fraud and worker misclassification in Colorado’s construction industry. Following is a statement by Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters’ Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Randy Thornhill.

“Our union applauds the Governor’s strong leadership in tackling this issue. For too long, unscrupulous contractors have misclassified workers to avoid paying fair wages and payroll taxes. They use labor brokers to hire inexperienced workers onto dangerous job sites as ‘independent contractors’. This illegal and loosely monitored practice led to the tragic deaths of two workers in March, at a site using labor brokers. On top of that, payroll and tax fraud hurt Colorado’s economy. Overall, an estimated $750 million is stolen from Colorado workers annually, significantly stunting Colorado’s tax revenue and draining resources for school, public health, and community projects.

The task force created by this order will seek to work with local businesses and labor groups to ensure that Colorado communities are built safely and fairly, and that laws protecting workers are enforced,” said Randy Thornhill, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, SWRCC.

About payroll fraud and misclassification
Corrupt contractors either intentionally misclassify employees as 1099 subcontractors or, more often, pay them off books. Payroll fraud occurs on projects small and large: military bases, hospitals, universities, and high-rise buildings.

About the order
The Joint Enforcement Task Force on Payroll Fraud and Employee Misclassification in the Construction industry will coordinate with relevant state agencies to share information and streamline investigations around alleged misclassification and tax fraud. The task force includes leadership from several state agencies including the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and the Colorado Department of Revenue. The labor industry representatives include the associated General Contractors of Colorado, as well as the SWRCC. Read Gov. Hickenlooper’s executive order here.

About the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
The SWRCC represents over 50,000 union carpenters in six states. The Union is dedicated to raising the safety and area standards for all skilled laborers and advocate for the rights of workers, their families, and their communities. The SWRCC is proud to be affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. For more, visit