Statement on Allegations of Subcontractor Misconduct
July 30, 2019
On Thursday, July 25, individuals representing a New Hampshire-based union posted a sign on public property adjacent to campus accusing Timberland Drywall of Gorham, Maine—a subcontractor currently finishing work at the College—of tax fraud through the misclassification of workers.
Timberland Drywall is a subcontractor for Wright-Ryan of Portland, Maine, the general contractor on Bowdoin’s Park Row Apartments project. Bowdoin does not have a contract with Timberland. The placement of the sign last Thursday was the first time that anyone at Timberland Drywall, Wright-Ryan, or Bowdoin had heard of these accusations.
Wright-Ryan has worked on a number of projects at the College over many years. They have consistently done excellent work and have an excellent reputation. As the union has made clear, and as Timberland’s website indicates, Timberland does work all over Maine, including for state and local government and beyond.
In response to these allegations, Timberland provided Wright-Ryan with the following statement:
Timberland Drywall has not been and does not misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid providing benefits or paying for work-related expenses.
The independent contractors we contract work with make up less than 2 percent of our labor force. They are self-employed, hard-working individuals who work for themselves. They are not misled or unaware of their status. They are fully aware that they are independent contractors. They have predetermination paperwork from the state to be recognized by the Maine Workers Compensation Board as independent self-employed contractors. They contract with us at various times and with other people/companies at the same time, pay their own taxes, and have their own insurance.
The union says that it used an online “tip form” to report its accusations to the Maine Department of Labor in May and that an “investigation is ongoing.” Officials at Timberland Drywall and at Wright-Ryan contacted the Maine Department of Labor and were told that there is no record of any active investigation.
The College takes charges like these very seriously. Bowdoin employees, and those other individuals who do work here, are indispensable to allowing us to provide an exceptional education and to making the College a special place. This is why we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. Our contracts stipulate compliance with all applicable legal requirements. If we learn of an issue, we will examine it closely, and if it turns out that there is a problem, we will address it directly and/or through the general contractors.