By Bill Shaner
July 13, 2017
The Carpenters Local 107 was out in force earlier this week in front of the 145 Front Street development, rallying around accusations that a subcontractor from New Jersey has systematically stiffed local carpenters on overtime hours and pay.
Dozens of union members and advocates marched in a circle across the street, banging on buckets, blowing whistles and chanting slogans like “no justice, no peace.”
At the heart of the matter are five formal U.S. Department of Labor complaints filed by local contractors against the New Jersey-based P and B Partitions.
One such complainant, Edward Vazquez, said time-and-a-half overtime pay and some overtime hours were withheld from his paychecks for about eight months. When he spoke up and attempted to organize other laborers, he was let go, he said.
“Basically, I was getting paid a check, and the rest was in cash, but I wasn’t getting that cash,” he said. “Someone was pocketing that money.”
The five workers who filed the complaint were paid for 40 hours on the books, then overtime in cash, but two hours of overtime were left out and they were straight paid, instead of the legally required time and a half, according to the union.
Vazquez, a Marlborough resident and Worcester native, said unfair treatment was extended to local carpenters and workers formally employed by the company.
“I was let go when I was talking to workers about standing up for their pay.”
He said the case against the company is a home run, and consequently got him into unionizing. After filing the complaint, he joined the Carpenters Local 107.