On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Secretary of Labor of the State of Maryland convened a Stakeholders meeting in the Senate Finance Committee Room to discuss the negative ramifications the Workplace Fraud Act of 2009 was having on the floor covering industry. The group included floor covering industry leaders, organized labor and workers rights groups as well as the participation of several state delegates and senators.

Representing the floor covering MDNVA (Maryland/Northern Virginia) Floor Covering Association were Kurt Zanelotti, Past President and current Board Member and Legislative Committee Chair; Chuck Bode, CB Floors and  Co-Committee Chair; Jerry Bush of Stroup Flooring and President Elect; and Chris Adams of Value Carpet One of Salisbury, Md.

Deputy Secretary Scott Jensen moderated the discussion and heard arguments and concerns from the industry. Also discussed was the lack of a timeline within which the state was obligated to render a decision. Currently there were 29 cases against flooring dealers, none of which were closed and most of which were open for 9 months or more, according to MDNVAFCA.

As Zanelotti testified, “We are willing to be partners with the state in making sure that those who are not paying their taxes, workman’s comp and other fees do so. But treat us as a means to the end and don’t end our means.”

Chris Adams testified to the nature of our utilization of sub-contractors, in which there is not always a need to employ full-time ceramic setters or highly skilled installers and that if the state makes him change his business model to include only employees he would have to scale back his staff. Said Adams, “From my conversations with the State, I am hearing that they are agreeing that we will be allowed to utilize independent contractors who are in compliance.”

Bode noted, “The meeting was fascinating and I am looking forward to getting this issue resolved. It seems the State hears some of our concerns.”

For more information from MDNVAFCA on this issue, click here for a PDF or call Michelle Goshorn, Executive Director MDNVAFCA, at (877) 896-3605.