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Workers Win $35,000 in Overtime Pay Owed for UT Student Housing

Following reports on the alleged mistreatment of workers on University of Texas student house projects, some of those workers actually received some good news this past week.  They’ve now received checks for the overtime their bosses had previously denied them.

After fighting very hard to get it, the Workers Defense Project in Austin let us know that some of the workers recovered $35,000 in overtime payment that they were due for work on the Calloway House project that was featured in the follow-up report from The Daily Texan.  Workers Defense held a celebration at their offices for those workers and to offer encouragement to others who are still trying to recover money they are owed.

“Without God, none of this would be possible,” said one worker who was elated to finally get his paycheck.  It’s not the first time he’s been stiffed by an unscrupulous construction company owner.  “This happens way too much, but these people helped me get the money I had already earned so I can feed my family.”  The workers who got their money, thus far, have been those who worked on Callaway House.
Our report on Construction Citizen uncovered apparent misclassification of workers, denial of overtime pay, denial of water breaks while temperatures soared above 100 degrees, potential safety violations, and other problems on the 2400 Nueces Apartments on the UT campus.

Bob Price at Texas GOP Vote, a leading conservative website, called the apparent violations outrageous and said that these problems are the real world consequences of the Republican leadership at the Texas Capitol looking the other way on worker misclassification:
“Misclassification is also a haven for workers who are in this country illegally. The lack of a guest worker program makes these people particularly vulnerable to workplace abuse. Some of the workers from this project spoke with Construction Citizen under condition of anonymity because of fear of deportation and retaliation. ‘A horrible job where you’re mistreated is still better than no job at all,’ one worker said. ‘At least you have some chance you might get paid.’ That man has two children, ages 2 and 7. He said that he goes to work so early in the morning they’re asleep when he leaves, and he often gets home so late at night they’re asleep again before he arrives. ‘But they’re fed and they’re safe,’ he said. ‘That’s what’s important to me.’

“Is this what we have come to? Construction ‘Sweat Shops’ to build cheap housing for rich college students?”
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