Labor Trafficking Conviction & Sentencing
January 15, 2020
This morning, Ricardo Batres was sentenced to 270 days in the workhouse and five years of probation, convicted of labor trafficking and insurance fraud while working on projects of large developers in the Twin Cities metro area, like Lennar Homes. This is the first case of labor trafficking to be tried in Hennepin County, and the first case to be brought to light in construction in Minnesota.
This is a good first step towards change, bringing to public light the rampant and systemic abuses that are happening in non-union construction work. Following the conviction, the Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network published a report highlighting the systemic abuses happening in non-union construction work in the Twin Cities, and pointing to a long-term solution that would give workers in the industry a voice through Building Dignity and Respect Standards Council.
Click here for a copy of CTUL’s press release regarding the sentencing
CTUL wrote a Community Impact Statement regarding the impacts of Batres’ actions on the broader community, stating:
“So what is the real impact of Batres’ actions in this case? Large developers and finance behind those developers have learned that they can put downward pressure on contractors on their projects to build the projects as quickly and cheaply as possible…Contractors like Batres then step into this space and firmly establish a culture of fear within the workforce by threatening workers and retaliating against workers who stand up for their rights. While Batres is not the only contractor behaving this way in the industry, he was a trailblazer in finding creative ways to cut costs on the backs of workers.”