Investigation of 12 Wage Theft Complaints Continues
Worcester. MA — In April of 2017, the Worcester Carpenters Union began assisting five non-unionized carpenters who had been cheated out of their wages and legally mandated overtime. For 26 weeks, Union Carpenters held weekly rallies in front of a luxury apartment construction project at 145 Front Street in Worcester to bring attention to wage theft cases involving five non-union carpenters who had worked at the project for New Jersey-based P&B Partitions.
It was during this time, that an active employee of P&B Partitions started speaking with the Worcester Carpenters Union and began speaking with other employees about the importance of the union’s efforts to help the workers. It was shortly after this employee began these conversations with co-workers that he was fired.
The National Labor Relations Board has now reached a settlement with West Berlin, New Jersey based sub-contractor, P & B Partitions. While not admitting guilt, the settlement P & B Partitions has signed recognizes the rights of all carpenters working at 145 Front Street to engage in union organizing efforts without fear of reprisal. This includes all employees who feel they have been the victims of wage theft on this project. Additionally, the carpenter fired by P&B Partitions has now been paid $15,000 in lost wages and was offered his job back.
The $90 million project, 145 Front Street at City Square, is being developed by Roseland Residential Trust, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. Erland Construction was selected to serve as the project’s Construction Manager.
All workers, whether they are Carpenters or Roofers, Plumbers, contracted university cafeteria employees or home healthcare staff must always be allowed to organize in order to better their working conditions.
Jack Donahue, Business Manager,
Carpenters Local 336
I’m proud of the successes we’re seeing in Worcester’s economic development, but I’m not proud of stories like this. I’m pleased that this unfair labor practice has been resolved.
Candy Mero-Carlson, District 2 Worcester City Councilor
Chair, City Council Economic Development Committee
I’m glad this Latino carpenter has been paid and P&B Partitions will be notifying all of their employees that they can organize and become unionized if they wish. This shouldn’t be happening in our state, or right here in downtown. This will happen again in Worcester or maybe next time in Framingham or Fitchburg if we don’t keep a more watchful eye on subcontractors that come into our cities. I’m glad this carpenter was offered their job back.
It’s always the little guy that gets hurt. Hopefully the investigation of the twelve carpenters who were victims of wage theft on this project will also be decided soon.
Manny Gines, Organizer
Carpenters Local 336
Workers in Massachusetts and across the United States have a right to unionize and all unions are allowed under the law to actively educate workers about their rights and the benefits of organizing and joining a union. Something is seriously wrong when workers who have been victimized are also then retaliated against for seeking protections through organizing and unionization.
The wage theft complaints of the five carpenters working for P&B Partitions which were the impetus for the union organizing effort at this project remain unsettled after one year and have now grown to 12 complaints. After the nearly year-long investigation these wage theft complaints against P&B Partitions remain under investigation. It is not known when this investigation will be completed.
As a City Councilor, it’s incredibly upsetting to repeatedly hear reports of wage theft occurring right here in downtown Worcester.
Justice was served in this case, but Worcester can do better; workers deserve better. Wage theft is preventable. It is incumbent upon us to enact stronger policies and put real resources into enforcing laws that guard against wage theft.
Khrystian King, Councilor-at-Large,
Worcester City Council
The Carpenters union is a membership driven organization that reflects the goals and aspirations of our membership. Local 336 represents over 1,700 men and women throughout Central and Western, Mass. Over 120 of our members reside in the City of Worcester.