AB 1701 Signed Into Law - Ending Wage Theft
Now, it’s the law – if you’re a general contractor and one of your subcontractors doesn’t pay his workers, you are responsible for paying their wages.
Gov. Jerry Brown made it official Saturday when he signed Assembly Bill 1701, the legislation designed to end wage theft in California’s $83-billion construction industry.
"This historic bill will help create an even playing field for good contractors that find it almost impossible to compete against contractors whose business model is to use an underground economy, low-wage cash payment, that often cheats workers with no payment at all,” State Building and Construction Trades Council President Robbie Hunter said.
AB 1701 cleared the Legislature over the summer despite a $3.6 million lobbying campaign financed by some of the biggest home builders in the state.
Organized labor countered the companies’ big money with people power. Members of the Building Trades and Carpenters unions leafleted the Capitol, visited the offices of dozens of lawmakers to demonstrate the importance of AB 1701 to working people, and jammed the gallery when the Assembly held its crucial vote.
The bill is expected to put a large dent in California’s underground economy where studies have shown that as much as one-sixth of the state’s 824,000-strong construction workforce is paid off the books, at a cost of between $8.5 billion and $10 billion a year to the state in lost revenues.