By CAITLIN BOWLING
May 24, 2017 12:53 pm
Some of the construction workers who are helping erect the more than $320 million Omni Louisville hotel and luxury apartments walked off the site this morning.
Roughly 100 workers who have been installing metal studs and hanging drywall at the Omni claim that they are being paid roughly $20 less an hour compared with other construction workers on the job, WDRB News first reported.
Marco Cruz, one of the workers who walked off the construction site, told Insider that he is not so much upset that they are making less than other workers as he is troubled by the fact that they were told they’d earn $24 an hour but are only receiving $17 to $20 an hour.
“I saw that that’s not right,” he said. “We feel like they are taking advantage of us.”
Louisville labor attorney Dave Suetholz told Insider in a phone interview that the construction workers, most of whom are Hispanic immigrants, were told that their wages were lowered because Gov. Matt Bevin repealed Kentucky’s prevailing wage statute this year.
Suetholz, an attorney with Kircher, Suetholz & Associates PSC, argued that construction on the Omni “started before the repeal of the prevailing wage,” making the argument invalid.
“Their employer has lied to them,” he said. “It’s all immigrant workers. They are the only ones being paid lower rates. …Just on the face, it looks very bad.”
The prevailing wage law required construction workers to be paid a wage and receive benefits comparable to what workers receive on average construction sites in the area. It applied to public construction projects, according to an article by Stites & Harbison attorney Joseph L. Hardesty.