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Wage Theft Prevalent In Massachusetts Residential Construction Industry

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Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

    "So, particularly among undocumented workers there is an expectation by all of them that at some time during the year they will be cheated out of wages," he said.

  Juravich said Massachusetts has strong wage laws, but limited enforcement.