A whistleblower in the southern California construction industry says illegal alien workers have “taken over every trade” in the business while driving down wages by an estimated 40 percent.
In an interview with the group Progressives for Immigration Reform, a whistleblower who was an independent contractor throughout the 1980s and 1990s explains how the California construction industry transformed into one in which American men could make a middle-class living off blue-collar work to a business where wages have plummeted and illegal aliens dominate the field.
Blaine Taylor, the whistleblower, said the construction industry in California once offered a starting wage of about $45 an hour in the late 1980s. Fast-forward to 2018 — nearly two decades into when illegal aliens began flooding the industry — he now says that wages have fallen by more than half, standing at just $11 an hour.
TAYLOR: If I hired a framer to do a small addition [in 1988], his wage would have been $45 an hour. That was the minimum for a framing contractor, a good carpenter. [Emphasis added]
For a helper, it was about $25 an hour, for a master who could run a complete job, it was about $45 an hour.
That was the going wage for plumbers as well. His helpers typically got $25 an hour.
TAYLOR: The reality is that a person that was hired as a laborer in 1988, I paid $15 an hour and within a month if I could leave him on the job alone, he got $20 an hour. If I hired somebody that already knew how to do certain types of labor or certain types of operations, they would get $20 an hour.
Now, the average wage in Los Angeles for construction workers is less than $11 an hour. They can’t go lower than the minimum wage. And much of that, if they’re not being paid by the hour at less than $11 an hour, they’re being paid per piece — per piece of plywood that’s installed, per piece of drywall that’s installed. Now, the subcontractor can circumvent paying them as an hourly wage and are now being paid by 1099, which means that no taxes are being taken out. [Emphasis added]
Taylor says that the flood of illegal alien workers contributed to wages in the California construction industry plummetting between the 1980s to today.
Between 2008 and 2016, construction wages were actually lower than in 1998, representing a roughly 40 percent drop in pay. At the same time, construction materials, Taylor said, increased by about 50 percent.
INTERVIEWER: It’s really strange because as a young man, of course, just entering your working life, you’re making a living wage, and then as you got middle-aged, the wage dropped, which is like… you know most people don’t expect in their careers that they’re going to start out at the top and they’re actually going to fall below where they are when they start.
TAYLOR: Well, part of it was due to the market, but then there’s the other part that really pulled it down and that was the influx of just a flood of undocumented workers. [Emphasis added]
Meanwhile, Taylor says that illegal aliens are dominating the blue-collar trades in the California construction industry, with an illegal alien population that potentially exceeds more than three million.
TAYLOR: Unfortunately, what I have found, is that [the construction in California is] overwhelmingly being built by illegal immigrants that have basically taken over every trade. [Emphasis added]
Just to go back for a second, in the 80’s and early 90’s when I was a contractor, it wasn’t unusual to see undocumented workers doing landscaping, demolition, then it became roofing, and concrete work. So the heavier, more difficult, and dirtier sort of trades where you actually got in the ditches were the first trades to be taken over [by illegal aliens], then the rest of them began to fall.
The drywall was next, painting, framing was the last, and now electrical and plumbing has been taken over. All the trades finally went to the illegal immigrants. [Emphasis added]
In a 2017 report by the Los Angeles Times, the left-leaning paper admitted that at the time illegal aliens began flooding the California construction industry, wages drastically dropped.
“You can’t live on a wage of $11 an hour for a construction worker,” Taylor said. “There’s no hope for people. Young people, as a young man growing up in Detroit, you looked forward to hopefully working in the construction industry.”
“That was an attractive career to go into as a young person,” Taylor said.
The big business-preferred cheap labor economic model of importing more than one million new legal immigrants every year to compete mostly for working and middle-class jobs against Americans has resulted in decades of stagnant and even decreased wages for U.S. workers:
For instance, the massive importation of low-skilled foreign nationals to the U.S. has translated to a cheap-labor economy that has aided in keeping American men’s wages stagnant for at least 44 years, as Breitbart News reported. Median earnings for American men working full-time were actually lower in 2016 than they were in 2007.
On the other hand, President Trump’s economic nationalist efforts to tighten the labor market by increasing interior enforcement of illegal immigration has helped secure history-making wage growth for American workers in the construction industry, the garment industry, for workers employed at small businesses, and for black Americans.