Web of Exploitation: How the Construction Industry Systematically Cheats Immigrant Workers


Local construction subcontractor R&R Steel got caught paying immigrant workers way less than they were due.

By Jim DeBrosse, jdebrosse.c4ad@gmail.com

Edward Gonzalez—and dozens of other Hispanic workers for R&R Steel reinforcing the concrete on the new parking garage at Eighth and Sycamore streets—would have never known they were being cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars in wages if Gonzalez hadn’t happened upon a couple of concrete workers discussing pay scales at the site. “You [steel reinforcement] guys are at the top of the food chain,” one of the concrete workers told him. The envious remark came as a surprise to Gonzalez, who for the last four months had been paid $19 an hour by R&R Steel. But the concrete worker assured him that, under the state’s prevailing wage law, Gonzalez and the other R&R Steel workers should be making upwards of $46 an hour on the city-supported project. Gonzalez, one of the few R&R workers fluent in both English and Spanish, spread the word to his coworkers and a lively discussion followed—until an R&R foreman told the group to break it up and get back to work.

Read the full article at Cincinnati Magazine: