“It’s also possible no one will be held accountable.”
Who? A couple of misclassified workers for a company named Carpetbaggers, working under the General Contractor Millstone. Jose Delgado, Sr., 31, of the 2000 block of Breaburn East Drive, Indianapolis, and his son, Jose Delgado, Jr., 13, who lives at the same address
What? One dies and his son, a 13 year old severely injured while working with him while improperly using a fork lift as an elevator
Where? A new hotel in Indiana, the Value Palace, which unfortunately has no standard on who they work with, some value, people die cutting corners. The Value Place hotel is located at the southwest corner of I-65 and County Line Road in Johnson County.
When? Last week, Oct 16th.
Why? Because they can get away with it.
From wthr.com 13 in Indiana:
Greenwood – A forklift accident two weeks ago claimed the life of a Greenwood construction worker. His teenage son was also on the site, and was also injured. Now OSHA officials may be looking into more violations.
As the new Value Place hotel takes shape in Greenwood, so too are state officials making progress on their investigation into an accident on the site two weeks ago.
Three tile workers were coming off the fourth floor into an aerial basket when, according to police reports, two of the workers, 31-year-old Jose Delgado, Sr. and his son, slid off the forks and the forklift fell to the ground. Delgado later died from his injuries. His son, at first reported to be only 15 years old, was also hurt.
“A construction site like this is not a place for a child like that to be working,” said OSHA deputy commissioner Jeff Carter.
Carter says this week investigators learned the boy wasn’t 15 after all. “We believe he’s younger than that now. We believe he could be as young as 13,” he said.
By law, that’s too young to be on the job site. Investigators are also looking at the forklift used by the workers.
One thing OSHA investigators will have to determine is whether the workers were using the forklift incorrectly, or if that machinery is used in a similar fashion on this or other job sites.
The basket on the forklift is what OSHA investigators consider “homemade.” Officials want to know if the workers were trained to use it.
“That basket we have questions about. It does not meet the standards,” said Carter.
The contractor supervisor on site told police the day of the accident, “Any subcontractor may use the on-site forklift, but must sign a contract stating they must get the necessary training.” He went on to say, “Millstone [the general contractor] does not allow people in the basket.”
But two weeks after the fatal accident, Eyewitness News saw two workers in what appears the be the same forklift.
“The company will probably be cited,” Carter said.
Citations are likely. But who the state holds accountable for one worker’s death is still unclear.
The driver of the forklift, Antonio Torres, told police he didn’t have a key to drive it and that he used a pocket knife to start the engine.
OSHA officials say citations may be directed at Torres, who is an independent contractor, Carpetbaggers, the company who hired him, and Millstone, the general contractor on the construction site. It’s also possible no one will be held accountable.
The investigation is expected to take another two weeks.
So how does this happen?
let’s ask Chris the Carpenter from Indiana, in a story entitled “Joe the Plumber-meet Chris the Carpenter!!“:
Now the quarter of a million mark wouldn’t really be that hard to meet. I can’t speak with any first hand knowledge, but being on the inside looking out, I can say with much certainty that there are people in our line of work that do much better than we do. And I think $250,000.00 is quite obtainable. See, as a union contractor we are obligated to pay the union benefits and wages that our contract states but if we were a non-union contractor we could get by a lot cheaper. Now I know there are some stand up non-union contractors that pay a good wage to their employees, offer health care and a 401k etc. But those guys know, as well as I do, that there are those out there that take advantage of people and don’t do things on the up and up. I know because I see them on a regular basis on jobs throughout central Indiana.
I’m talking about the elephant in the room in the construction industry. It works like this. A guy secures a contract to do a job, say, roofing, masonry, landscaping, drywall, whatever. He then purchases the material and he finds a labor broker. This is usually a legal immigrant that can speak English and knows a lot of other immigrants that need jobs, are usually illegal and have little or no English skills. They will work very hard and they are very reliable. AND, they work very cheap. Now the contractor knows what the labor rate runs and he can charge just a little less than we do or what the legit non-union guy does. He then sub-contracts to the labor broker who then sub-contracts to the illegal immigrants. This is all done on a piece meal basis. In other words, a set amount is paid for the installation of the product, i.e.; 15 cent/square foot of drywall or 45 cents per concrete block. This way, the price is set and the contractor and the labor broker can’t lose. It’s up to the actual worker to bust his butt to make any money because he only gets paid for the set amount of material in the job. And it’s pennies on the dollar compared to the wages my guys get or the good non-union contractor employees get. The contractor then gives the illegals a 1099 form instead of paying the taxes, workman’s comp., insurance, not to mention providing a safe environment and the workers don’t worry about it because they won’t file taxes anyway. They work very, very cheap because the broker knows they won’t say anything if they want to keep their job because there is a whole line of people ready to take their place.
Just recently, a small hotel was being built just West of Indianapolis and the floor covering was contracted this way or something similar. On a Saturday, workers were stocking material using a forklift that was supplied by the General Contractor. The workers tied a box to the forks and was using it as a man lift to get material to the second floor. (Totally against OSHA regulations) The box broke loose and two workers in the box fell to the ground. It was a father and son. Illegal immigrants from Mexico. The boy was 14 years old. Both died. This is not an isolated incident. If these workers were fortunate enough to live and only receive serious injuries, this story would never be told because they would be whisked away and 2 more put in their place. There has been no follow up story to the contractors on this project, and I’m sure that somebody got in trouble. But those lives are lost forever. And the work will be done in this manner over and over again because nothing is being done about it.
I hope you all understand that I’m not putting the blame on the illegal immigrants. I understand their plight. If I had to feed my family and I could make money to do that in Mexico, I would be there in a heartbeat. The blame is to be placed on the employers that take advantage of these people so they can line their own pockets. I’m not trying to solve the immigration problem right now. I’m trying to show Joe the Plumber that it’s not as glamorous as it looks. So go ahead Joe, buy that company. Run a legitimate business. Put in the hours to make it work. Build yourself up to make that $250-300,00.00. Believe me, if I get to $300k, I’ll pay the 4-5% extra taxes and never blink. But how much are you going to be paying the people that got you to that level? You gotta pay them a decent living wage too. You’ll never do any of it without good employees. So you gotta spread the wealth with your employees first or you’ll never make it as an employer.
So, go for it Joe!! See ya on the jobsite, huh?
Chris the carpenter Central Indiana