Today we filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Labor Department, its Wage and Hour Division, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We ask for all third-party communications related to this week’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies and eleven state governments.
The MOU is the basis for a crackdown on employers who allegedly misclassify employees as independent contractors, but the action appears calculated to assist the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in a campaign directed at the nation’s homebuilders.
According to NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm, “At a time when the Obama administration has a number of initiatives to help the housing industry to rebound from the recession, along comes this political favor to LIUNA. As we have documented for many years, LIUNA is one of the nation’s most corrupt unions.”
We ask for communications with outside individuals and groups that contributed to the creation of the MOU signed by the three government entities. The MOU would allow of interagency cooperation and information sharing in an effort to investigate homebuilders, hotels and a number of other industries – which together employ millions of Americans.
Through their joint data collection efforts this new “super regulator” would have the ability to force companies to spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars compiling documents and information to advance the joint Labor/IRS inquiry.
Boehm continued, “We have no problem with a genuine enforcement action, but we believe LIUNA and other unions may be behind this. The purpose of our FOIA requests is to get to the bottom of how it came about.”
On Monday, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis hosted a press conference to announce the signing of the MOU. Ironically, it took place on the same day that President Obama delivered an address from the Rose Garden promoting the American Jobs Act.
According to the Labor Department news release:
In addition, labor commissioners and other agency leaders representing seven states signed memorandums of understanding with the department’s Wage and Hour Division and, in some cases, its Employee Benefits Security Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Office of the Solicitor. The signatory states are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Utah and Washington. Secretary Solis also announced agreements for the Wage and Hour Division to enter into memorandums of understanding with the state labor agencies of Hawaii, Illinois and Montana, as well as with New York’s attorney general.
Boehm concluded, “Coordination on this level suggests politics. I don’t think a group of bureaucrats suddenly in unison decided to do a better job. Hilda Solis seems to view her constituency as organized labor, and employers as the enemy.”
Photo: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman sign MOU.