Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 35, working with other area unions, the Greater Boston Labor Council and community groups, helped expose the exploitation of a group of Philadelphia workers hired by a subcontractor to renovate the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. Earlier this week, the workers were awarded $31,000 in back pay.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley says the workers were paid only $4 an hour, half the state’s minimum wage. The attorney general’s office was alerted to exploitation by the unions.
The 37 workers were from Victory Outreach Church, an evangelical ministry that specializes in rehabilitating people struggling with substance abuse. The church often arranges for its members to perform labor as part of its recovery program. They were hired in November by subcontractor Installation Plus.
The renovation company that subcontracted the work to Installation Plus cooperated with the investigation and agreed to the back pay settlement, says Coakley. She says:
Employers are required to pay employees a fair wage for a day’s work, We enforce these laws not only to protect workers, but to level the playing field for all businesses who play by the rules.