i spent most of the night on the phone with my lil brother, a very smart, wonderful man. he is a general contractor in Iowa, owns his own business with 4 guys working for him. he does excellent work and looks out for his guys, no one would argue that, but he hasn't worked in 5 weeks.
now, that isn't to say he hasn't been working. he has been working his butt off trying to land a contract but to no avail.he has called everyone he knows, but no luck. the funny thing is there are $300,000 condos going up all over the area, yet no one has anything corporate to offer.
just last week, he had this bid on a big project that he thought was really going to bail things out. insulation work at 65 ft for a big facility. his bid came in at $28,000. that comes out to $115/sq ft plus soffit cost, or $25 over market cost. the next lowest bid was 35K and the one above that 52K. at the last minute, a bid came in at 17K and he lost the contract. here is what my brother says:
besides breaking my heart, because he is after all my baby brother and i cannot protect him, two things stood out.
1. my brother may not be able to hold his business together much longer given the unfair market pressures of an illegal workforce, but he has the sense not to blame the immigrants for also just trying to put food on the table.
2. no one should be risking their lives/welfare working for so little.
these to me are the talking points of immigration reform:
1. we need to crack down and hard on employers to give US workers a fighting chance and decrease the incentive for illegal immigration.
2. if we don't make a living wage a priority for all workers, there will always be someone more desperate for food and more willing to sacrifice safety and quality.