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Building Dignity and Respect: The Case for Worker-driven Social Responsibility in the Twin Cities Construction Industry

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A new report from the WSRN, “Building Dignity and Respect: The Case for Worker-driven Social Responsibility in the Twin Cities Construction Industry” debuted this week, based on surveys conducted by Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), a human rights organization that focuses on deep leadership development with low-wage workers in the Twin Cities metro area.

This report comes just weeks after labor abuse in Minnesota construction made national headlines in a major trafficking case. Last month, Ricardo Batres, the owner of American Contractors and Associates LLC who operated as a labor broker on construction projects tied to several well-known developers, pled guilty to charges of labor trafficking.

Among the workers surveyed by CTUL, nearly half of respondents reported having experienced wage theft, most commonly in the form of unpaid overtime. A third of workers said they don’t feel that they can complain to supervisors about concerns without fear of
retaliation.

CTUL and its partners are developing the Building Dignity and Respect Standards Council (BDC), a standards-setting and monitoring organization, based on the WSR model. Under this program, developers and general contractors will enter legally binding program participation agreements with BDC that require all contractors at every tier of a project to abide by basic standards that protect the rights of workers to fair treatment, a safe workplace, and a voice in their working conditions. 

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