For the first time, Hennepin County filed labor trafficking charges against Twin Cities contractor Ricardo Batres. Batres plead guilty to charges of labor trafficking and insurance fraud yesterday afternoon after repeatedly exploiting workers on construction sites in Minnesota.
“Developers and contractors that profit from partnering with traffickers and fraudsters on Minnesota construction projects are hereby on notice. Things just became more difficult for those who prey on immigrant workers, and those who profit from their exploitation. You can no longer pretend that you don’t know what’s going on when you see that criminally low bid. Workers are standing up to the abuse and will no longer silently accept it,” said Johnson.
Burt Johnson, General Counsel for North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters stated, “Ricardo Batres is being held accountable today for abusing his workers and cheating his competition and the general public. Today, justice is being served for the immigrant construction workers who held Batres accountable and for the reputable contractors and skilled carpenters who were being undercut by Batres’ criminal construction labor practices.”
You can read more of Johnson’s quote and hear the audio from the press conference here: https://bit.ly/330n4mR
In addition to the passing of the toughest wage theft law in the country, this is a huge victory in the fight against developers and contractors who make hiring of a wage broker part of their business model.
Below are additional clips from the Batres story. We encourage you to share this at local meetings and other opportunities with members coming up.
MPR: Hennepin County’s first labor-trafficking case ends in guilty plea – https://bit.ly/2r4K6M0
KARE 11: Businessman pleads guilty in labor trafficking case – https://bit.ly/37gWCbU
Star Tribune: Twin Cities contractor pleads guilty to coercing undocumented laborer – http://strib.mn/2QxbP2D
WCCO: Businessman pleads guilty in labor trafficking case – https://cbsloc.al/2NZuNxg
KSTP: Man accused of labor trafficking pleads guilty – https://bit.ly/330qy8L