Workers on Vikings development claim over $100,000 in wage theft – Minnesota Reformer

Dry Wall Contractor

Guillermo Macario-Alcocer was out of money and living in the basement of a church in south Minneapolis when he got a lead on some construction work.

A volunteer at the church told him to call a man who in turn told him to go to the new Vikings training facility in Eagan that Monday at 6 a.m.

It was early January 2021 and despite the freezing temperatures, workers were busy on the first apartment buildings on the Viking Lakes complex, a sprawling multi-use development that also includes the NFL team’s new headquarters, training facility and hotel.

Macario-Alcocer found the office trailer and was hired on the spot by a subcontractor called Absolute Drywall. He started that morning sweeping floors, hauling out garbage and carrying sheets of drywall for the new luxury apartment buildings.

He was offered $15 an hour with plenty of hours: 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week. With time-and-a-half for overtime, he should have been making at least $1,000 per week.

Macario-Alcocer was never actually paid that much, according to three months of pay stubs reviewed by the Reformer. Even after the boss told him he was getting a raise to $18 an hour and then $20 an hour, his paycheck stayed the same: about $800 a week.

When he asked about it, the boss told him taxes go up when wages go up.

The paystubs show his hours trending down as his hourly rate went up as he worked on Absolute Drywall projects across the state. Some weeks they showed he worked just 19 hours although Macario-Alcocer says he never worked less than 50 hours a week.

Over the time that Macario-Alcocer worked for Absolute Drywall, he says he suffered from three injuries on the job, including a hernia, for which he would defer surgery for a year for lack of insurance and paid time off.

Macario-Alcocer is one of more than 35 workers who have filed complaints against two subcontractors with state labor authorities for wage theft, according to the carpenters union. At least 25 of those worked on the Viking Lakes project.

The workers were organized by the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, which is motivated both by improving working conditions and thwarting contractors that undercut union bids with low wages and unfair labor practices.

Wage theft costs the state upwards of $136 million a year in lost tax revenue, according to one estimate by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute.

And while Minnesota passed one of the toughest wage thefts laws in the country in 2019, it has yet to enforce it.

Carpenter union officials say they have been forced to do their own investigations to bring justice to the workers.

The state Department of Labor and Industry said it does not confirm open investigations.

Nicole Blissenbach, the deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and …….

Source: https://minnesotareformer.com/2022/05/04/workers-on-vikings-development-claim-over-100000-in-wage-theft/

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