Independent contractors in Texas

A significant issue within the construction industry is the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, also known as “1099.”

Employers who illegally classify workers as independent contractors do so to avoid paying taxes and other costs associated with hiring full-time employees. Independent contractor classification also allows employers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare. While not in Texas, in many other states, this can also allow an employer to avoid paying Workers’ Compensation. 

The practice also gives employers an unfair advantage when bidding for projects against law-abiding contractors.

For workers, including some plumbers, pipefitters and HVACR technicians, this illegal practice often leads to lower wages and little to no benefits, not to mention potential problems with the Internal Revenue Service or state government.

The construction industry is full of potential dangers, and those who work in it and are not properly trained are at a higher risk of suffering an injury. Since misclassifying workers as independent contractors helps avoid costs, it is more likely these contractors provide little to no safety training. In the pipe trades, safety training is vital, as one wrong decision could shut down an entire project due to injury or death.

To determine the difference between an employee and an independent contractor, please click here.

The members of UA Local 529 are not independent contractors. All our members are covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Benefits of a Collective Bargaining Agreement

Employees who work under a Collective Bargaining Agreement tend to fare better than those who are not covered under a CBA, especially those who have been misclassified as independent contractors. CBAs provide employees with an agreed-upon wage and benefits, plus ensures overtime wages and other potential compensation. 

In the U.S., healthcare is one of the most significant expenses a family may incur, especially if it is not covered by an employer. Under a CBA, benefits such as family health insurance are agreed upon, which helps a family properly budget.

Collective bargaining is not only good for a family, but it is also good for local communities. In most instances, a CBA will ensure a local workforce is used on a specific project. The use of a local workforce means the wages earned will ensure the money stays within the community where they are working, since they live in that community or nearby.