This just isn’t right. Why are we seeing wage theft in downtown Worcester AGAIN! Worcester is in a renaissance we’re told, but many of the carpenters who are building the new Worcester continue to be victims of illegal business practices on high profile projects.
The stolen wages occurred at the historic Central Building at 332 Main St. This is a publicly supported project that has millions of dollars in public assistance. A partial listing of funding as recorded by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette begins, “MassHousing is providing a $3.7 million permanent loan and $1.4 million in workforce housing funding from the agency’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative. The project also received approximately $12 million through an allocation of federal and state low-income housing tax credits by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, more than $3 million in direct affordable housing funding from DHCD, $1.2 million in HOME funds from Worcester, and approximately $5.3 million through allocations of federal and state historic tax credits.” (Worcester T&G – $5.1M financing deal for Central Building in Worcester 5/7/2016)
With this much public resources and taxpayer dollars you would expect this to be an exemplary project.
Sadly, Dellbrook Construction hired Nayelie Drywall, which is registered both as a Hartford, CT or Holyoke, MA subcontractor. Nayelie then stole wages from two non-union carpenters. After not receiving the money they were owed, these two Latino non-union carpenters came forward to the Carpenters Union for help.
“Worcester needs to stay vigilant in efforts to prevent wage theft. We’re willing to take on the Dellbrooks and Nayelie Drywall, but we’re hoping the Worcester City Council can pass a wage theft ordinance to help end the exploitation of workers in our City.”
Business Agent – Carpenters Local 336
Similar to what happened over a year ago at 145 Front Street, the workers that stepped forward were Latino and non-union carpenters.
Cesar Rijo, was hired by Nayelie Drywall and was soon a victim of wage theft. Cesar did not get paid overtime, was not asked to fill out any tax forms and was paid in cash.
“It’s frustrating. I wanted to stand up and expose what happened. All this cheating has to end. Dellbrook hired a contractor that stole my wages.”
Carpenter that worked at 332 Main St.
Worcester News Tonight Coverage: HERE
As part of the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition, the Carpenters Union has been working with City Councilors to pass a more complete wage theft ordinance, similar to what the City of Springfield recently passed, that can help to address the repeated incidents of wage theft against non-union workers occurring in our City.
Sadly wage theft is rampant within the construction industry. Wage theft is an illegal business practice where contractors do not pay legally mandated wages, such as overtime or minimum wage or they simply do not pay workers at all for hours they worked. These practices are often paired with other criminal practices such as tax and insurance fraud. We can’t stop it all, but maybe we can stop it here in Worcester at 332 Main Street.