The Pittsburgh City Council recently voted to establish the Joint Task Force on Construction Industry Fraud amid allegations of widespread fraud in the industry.
The board will identify and combat “unfair trade practices, including tax fraud” committed by the city’s construction businesses. The focus will be on wage violations that result in underpayment or non-payment of taxes, and low, under-the-table pay rates that prevent some workers from being able to support their families.
A carpenters union claims that Pennsylvania has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes as a result of underpayment of taxes by construction firms. Though some workers who are paid off the books may be undocumented immigrants, the bill makes no mention of monitoring undocumented workers.
The task force will include representatives from the city council, mayor’s office, Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council, Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and the Pittsburgh Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.