Via Weasel Zippers, we learned the Los Angeles Times has a new term for illegal aliens in the work force: they’re “informal workers,” and that doesn’t mean they don’t arrive on the job in a tuxedo.
Times reporter Tiffany Hsu (a "UC Berkeley grad") began her Saturday story with the new I-word (and illegal immigrants also “labored unofficially” in "gray employment"):
Informal workers are growing part of California’s economy — a shift keenly felt in the construction industry, where 1 in 6 workers is either off the books or misreported, new research has found.
Construction businesses in the state employ roughly 895,000 workers, according to a report by downtown Los Angeles research group Economic Roundtable that was released Sunday. In 2011, 143,900 of those workers labored unofficially...
In specialty trades such as drywall and flooring, a quarter of laborers are considered informal, according to the Economic Roundtable.
Construction in California is a $152-billion industry, one in which so-called gray employment has surged 400% since 1972. The upswing has been especially pronounced since the most recent recession because only two-thirds of the formal construction jobs that disappeared have since returned...
The Economic Roundtable report recommends a wage floor that allows informal and formal workers to be paid the same amount and also suggests that legislators enact policies that reward on-the-level contractors.
The headline on the website was "1 in 6 California construction workers labors in shadows, study finds."
PS: Speaking of disregarding law and order, Hsu recently relayed a Times interview with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, where both reporters and the Obama official pushed for “banning the box” asking job applicants about their criminal record:
TIMES: Does the administration have a position on the effort to remove questions about past convictions from job applications?
PEREZ: I don’t know if we’ve articulated a formal position. I support ban-the-box movements. Baltimore city has a ban the box. I know [Los Angeles] Mayor [Eric] Garcetti supports it as well.
I think they’ve been proven to be very effective. And I think opponents sometimes mischaracterize those provisions and say, ‘Oh, well, the child care center has to hire a pedophile.’ Of course it doesn’t require that to happen. But what does happen is people can get through the process and be considered.
Baltimore city has it, and [Johns] Hopkins [University] is the most prolific employer in Maryland, not to mention Baltimore city. And it has not gotten in the way at all.