Hotel project’s violations expose underground system of scams

The series of articles by Casey Ross on the illegal and unethical labor practices on the recent renovation of the Boston Marriott Copley Place pull back the curtain on the seamy underside of private construction. The sub-minimum-wage payments to workers in a drug rehab program are just the latest version of extensive underground-economy scams that hurt workers, legitimate employers, and taxpayers.

Host Hotels & Resorts’ claims of ignorance are disingenuous, at best. Early on in the project, the hotel became the site of weekly protests over these issues.


While state regulatory agencies took aggressive action after completion of the job, those I consider ultimately responsible for the conditions — the owner and general contractor — have escaped punishment because of shortcomings in the laws.

A successful approach to correcting these practices will require more proactive tactics, such as suspending construction as soon as illegal practices are uncovered.

Get Arguable with Jeff Jacoby in your inbox:
Our conservative columnist offers a weekly take on everything from politics to pet peeves.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

These conditions will occur again unless the penalties for cheating outweigh the savings realized.

Mark Erlich



New England Regional

Council of Carpenters


Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com