As contractor on the Sugar Hill housing project in Harlem, MountCo construction was supposed to be paying its workers the prevailing wage (nearly $65 an hour). The reality? Workers on the project were making closer to $15 and being forced to lie about their earnings to inspectors who were there to monitor the company because of its history of failing to do so.
Construction of taxpayer subsidized projects is big business, regulated to ensure maximum positive economic impact on the community. The name of MountCo’s non-union game, sadly, is inflating profits by drastically underpaying workers. The city is now looking to recover nearly $300,000 in back wages owed to the workers, the New York Daily News writes.
Workers told NDN that on that day of the project’s press conference completion, they were kept in the top half of the building so they would not be seen by the press or reveal to the Mayor the problems with the contractor. What’s worse, many of them were paid for only half days and told the reason was how little work there was to do on those top floors.
“They told us we had to work on the ninth floor or higher. We couldn’t work any lower than that. They were going to tell us when we could go downstairs,” one worker, who did not want to be identified, told The News. “They wouldn’t let us see him.”