Monday, July 11, 2011

Bill to Verify Legal Workers on Publicly-Funded Developments

Contractors working in developments funded by Allegheny County may soon be asked to verify that their laborers are cleared to work in the United States.

Allegheny County Council has passed a bill that would require contractors to run their employees’ names through a federal database, to make sure they’re working legally.

Sponsoring Councilman Ed Kress says the legislation is meant to make sure the County’s contractors don’t “cheat” by paying illegal workers less than the federal minimum wage.

The “E-Verify” bill only applies to projects using more than $100,000 in public funds.

Kress says the bill fits in with the county’s history of supporting the labor movement.

“Illegal immigration is diametrically opposed to the labor movement, because the labor movement was about improving the conditions of the workers, improving the wages. Illegal immigration doesn’t do that,” says Kress. “It suppresses the wages. It exploits the workers.”

Kress says while most employees are confirmed by the internet database within a day, anybody who isn’t has time to prove their legal working status.