Carpenters protest at courthouse

Posted at 5:37 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 18:37:51-04

Local carpenters are taking a stand against what they are calling payroll fraud.

This afternoon they marched outside of the Douglas County Courthouse to bring attention to an issue they say has been going on for far too long.

The carpenters say they are holding rallies in front of the courthouse with hopes of grabbing the attention of city and community members who they say can help stop what they call ongoing payroll fraud.

Nearly 70 carpenters gathered around the courthouse, they say it's not just a carpenter issue it's a community issue.

Some of the projects these carpenters say they aren’t being paid fairly on are projects right inside of the courthouse.

They claim the fraud involves being paid low wages, not being paid for overtime, or even going months without being paid at all.

The carpenters I spoke to say they believe the contractors hired by the building commission are pocketing a large percentage of the money and barely paying their workers.

"The fact that taxes I pay directly tie into this issue of payroll fraud, but there contractors out there who are not paying their appropriate taxes and not classifying their workers which may in fact raise our taxes as paying citizens,” said Marc Welander.

"It effects me personally every Friday when I get paid, instead of keeping wages were a guy can make a living off of these contractors are taking advantage of the system and lining their pockets," said Joe Hansen.

The Building Commission Administrator Paul Cohen says these workers have yet to provide any proof of payroll fraud taking place between their hired contractors and the employees.

"If someone brings us credible evidence we will certainly investigate it and look into it, but until now we have yet to see that,” said Paul Cohen.

The carpenters who demonstrated today say it's not only a fight for fair pay but a fight for respect for the craft.

 A spokesperson for the Community Coalition For Workers says no legal documents have been filed against any contracting companies.