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ON THE LEVEL: Buttke among four students receiving apprenticeship training in their senior year

Oskar Buttke

At one time, Oskar Buttke was seriously considering trying to becoming a speech pathologist. Then he looked into the cost of getting a degree at a four-year university. Suddenly, the prospect of following several of his relatives into the electrical trades became quite appealing.

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ON THE TRAIL OF WAGE THIEVES: Construction Business Group redoubles efforts to root out misclassification (VIDEO)

Victor Centeno, Edna Baldwin and Jeff Hennen are all investigators employed by the union-aligned organization Construction Business Group to root out worker misclassification and other forms of wage theft. All three agree that these types of abuses have become more common in Wisconsin in recent years and are particularly prevalent in the construction industry. (Staff photo by Rick Benedict)

If drywall and flooring could talk, it'd probably have a dark story to tell about Wisconsin's ongoing construction boom. Behind projects big and small, say people close to the industry, there thrives an underground economy made up of contractors who cheat their workers out of wages and benefits to deliver projects on time and under budget.

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