Democratic Attorneys General, painters union recognize effective partnerships to fight wage theft and worker exploitation
Mass. Attorney General Campbell, IUPAT DC 35 highlight lessons from recent enforcement of wage and hour violations resulting in $500,000 fine against Medfield contractor
ROSLINDALE — Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and IUPAT DC 35 Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Christian Brennan proudly hosted Democratic Attorneys General from across the United States at the IUPAT DC 35 Union Hall to highlight the remarkable success they’ve achieved in the fight against wage theft and worker exploitation.
Leaders at the event shared valuable insights gleaned from the recent investigation of an unscrupulous Massachusetts contractor. The partnership between the Massachusetts AG’s office and DC 35 proved instrumental in securing justice for the impacted workers and resulted in a substantial $500,000 fine against a Medfield contractor for wage and benefit violations.
The Massachusetts case serves as an important example of how strategic alliances between law enforcement and labor organizations can yield tangible results, ensuring that workers receive their rightful compensation and that law-breaking contractors are held to account. This collaborative effort not only exposed and rectified egregious instances of wage theft but also sent a powerful message that such practices will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth.
In a panel discussion, attorneys general and local labor leaders highlighted the vital role of these partnerships in fighting worker exploitation like wage theft:
“Labor is a critical ally in the fight against wage theft and worker exploitation. My office recently partnered with IUPAT DC35 to hold a contractor accountable for significant wage and hour violations, and as a result, workers received restitution for wages they were rightfully owed. This is indicative of how the partnership between labor and the Attorney General’s office leads to safer workplaces and economic justice for workers. Here in Massachusetts, my office will continue to enforce our strong worker protection laws to ensure that workers have dignity in the workplace,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Campbell.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, wage theft is a prevalent issue nationally, with U.S. workers losing an estimated $50 billion every year. Locally, roughly $1 billion is stolen from Massachusetts workers annually according to the Wage Theft Coalition.
“Wage theft hurts working families and it hurts Massachusetts’ economy, costing the state millions in lost tax revenue. We’re grateful that AG Campbell and the Democratic AGs hold businesses accountable for exploiting vulnerable workers and skirting tax laws. The alliances we forge with attorneys general are a driving force behind our fight for fairness and accountability. Together, we stand against corporate exploitation, fortifying labor laws and protections to ensure our workers’ safety,” said Christian Brennan, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, IUPAT District Council 35
“We thank these Democratic Attorneys General for upholding the values of the working people of America, especially our home state, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, for supporting unions in our effort to give all workers a strong, collective voice, and for empowering legislation that brings us closer to a more equitable future for all,” said Jorge Rivera, Director of Organizing, IUPAT District Council 35
In addition to the wage theft discussion, visiting Attorneys General and their staff, and Progressive State Leaders Committee staff visited with union members and DC 35 apprentices Melissa Schneiderhan, Hull; Melody Williams, Dorchester; Christopher Hernandez from Revere; and Randall Rodericks, Roxbury, who showcased their training with a painting, drywall finishing, and glazing demonstration.
IUPAT District Council 35 is an aggressive and forward-thinking organization representing 4,000 workers in various industries across five states, advocating for their rights, safety, and fair wages through collective bargaining and worker organizing. The DC 35 membership has grown substantially in recent years, and we are determined to continue this trend to ensure that we maintain the best wages and benefits in our industries. Our mission is to represent our members for collective bargaining purposes, organize workers in various occupations, and advocate for workers and their families. To learn more, visit iupatdc35.org.