House Kills Worker Misclassification Bill

Would Have Helped Construction Workers, High-Road Employers

The Texas House voted today to keep a practice that denies many Texas construction workers basic job benefits.

HB 3656 by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, went down on a 66-76 vote. The bill would have required contractors to classify workers as employees or independent contractors according to rules set by the Texas Workforce Commission. For the first time, misclassification of workers would have been subject to a complaint process and potential fines.

“Today’s disappointing House vote on HB 3656 will let employer tax fraud in Texas continue,” Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said. “When contractors misclassify construction workers as independent contractors, workers and their families lose out on important benefits, including Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, and any health care, vacation and paid sick leave benefits that the employer may provide. Low-wage workers, often immigrants, suffer because there has been no effective way to pursue complaints against unscrupulous employers.”

“The current system also penalizes high-road contractors who play by the rules and lose out to unfair competition. The Texas AFL-CIO, our affiliated Building and Construction Trades unions, and the fierce advocates at the Workers Defense Project will continue to pursue passage of this bill in the future. We thank Chairman Turner and his staff for outstanding leadership and we thank House members who voted for a fair shot for Texas construction workers.”

The Texas AFL-CIO is the state labor federation consisting of 240,000 affiliated union members who advocate for working families in Texas.