Apr 26, 2021
Nearly half of construction workers on commercial sites in Washington, D.C. interviewed recently by a labor group were either paid in cash or by check without the required payroll deductions or benefits including overtime rates, the group reported. In D.C., particularly in drywall, mechanical, and electrical work, bosses hire many immigrants through labor brokers who do not treat workers as regular employees. One worker from Mexico said she complained to her boss about being paid under the city’s minimum wage and he replied, “We don’t owe you an explanation. You can take the work at the rate we pay or get out.” A worker from El Salvador said he was told he could only cash his paycheck at a certain store in the suburbs, which charged a two percent fee.
As there are at least 15,000 construction workers in the city and 45 construction cranes operating, the problem is big. The billionaires are pocketing huge fortunes on the backs of those who raise the buildings.