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Beneath the surface: Exploring the complexities of subcontractor crews, child labor and safety in roofing

IB Roof Beneath the Surface Watch Now
January 19, 2024 at 9:00 a.m.

By Dani Sheehan. 

How does immigration reform relate to the roofing industry’s labor shortage? Understand the connection and dive into the darker aspects of the challenges faced by roofing contractors in this Coffee Conversations. 

By now, the roofing industry’s labor shortage is not new information, but have you thought about the impact it can have on other issues in the industry? You won’t want to miss this Coffee Conversations, sponsored by IB Roof Systems, when Heidi J. Ellsworth welcomed industry experts McKay Daniels from NRCA, Trent Cotney from Adams and Reese and Jason Stanley from IB Roof Systms for a candid conversation about subcontractor crews, child labor and safety concerns in the roofing sector. You’ll learn all about the nuances of working with sub crews, potential ethical concerns and strategies for navigating these challenges in your business. 

As CEO of IB Roof Systems and founder of Labor Central, Jason Stanley is deep in the weeds of subcontract labor, which he says is not a small percentage in the industry. In fact, it’s a very large part of the industry and the challenges facing subcontract work directly relate to immigration issues at a federal level. Jason shares, “[Subcontracted labor] is somewhere north of 80% for steep-slope roofing and it’s likely moved past 50% even for commercial low-slope roofing. And because of the challenges that have been created by our politicians with these people coming across, there is no way for them to legally work.”  

McKay has been in the CEO role for the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) for the last six years now but has been working on immigration reform for over 20 years. He expresses his frustration with the lack of movement from anyone in government around this issue and says, “The state of the immigration situation within the industry is simple, that we need more workers. We’re still experiencing record low unemployment... The people coming to this country, the federal government allows them to enter the country, allows them to migrate and then says, ‘But you can’t work. Come on in, stay, but you can’t work.’ What is a politician expecting to happen?” 

Trent offers another way to look at it, saying, “You’re seeing the development of a black market and labor primarily because there’s a lack of regulation. This is an area where we could actually benefit from [regulation]. We need the workers. These workers aren’t replacing jobs for Americans that are here, they are needed because we just simply do not have enough skilled labor.” 

If we want to address the subcontract labor issues in the roofing industry, we first need to address the immigration reform industry in the country. Trent continues, “We have to find a way to legally bring these workers in, have them be taxpayers, have them be part of our country, but do it in a way that respects both sides of the aisle.” 

Don’t miss the rest of this riveting conversation! Read the transcript, Listen to the podcast or Watch the Webinar to continue this discussion of working with sub crews and further dive into strategies for navigating the darker side of the labor shortage.

Learn more about IB Roof Systems in their Coffee Shop Directory or visit www.ibroof.com.

About Dani

Dani is a writer for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When she's not writing or researching, she's training for trail races and working on her yoga teaching certification.



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