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Latino Construction Workers Owed More Than $89K in Unpaid Wages

February 4, 2020

By Joe Maniscalco

Latino construction workers patiently waited all morning long on Gold Street hoping to finally get paid this week.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story.

Brooklyn, NY – The builders of new residential development going up in Downtown Brooklyn owe a group of more than 40 Latino construction workers in excess of $89,000 for 3 weeks of unpaid wages, according to union advocates fighting on their behalf. 

Members of the New York Community Alliance for Worker Justice visited the 260 Gold Street job site on Monday morning, hoping representatives from Neiva Construction Corp. would finally make good on restitution. 

But after standing around all morning near the corner of Concord and Gold streets, the workers learned that they would have to come back Thursday to get paid. 

“If it doesn’t’ happen by Thursday, we’ll go to the district attorney’s office on Friday morning,” NY Community Alliance for Worker Justice organizer Eddie Jorge said. “It sucks that we have to wait another week, but my end goal is to get them paid.”

Workers helping to erect this luxury residential building between Tillary and Concord streets in Downtown Brooklyn say they are owed three weeks salary.

Some of the workers said they were also stiffed working another Nieva job site on Fulton Street. 

“It’s the same shit every day — no pay,” one of the construction workers told LaborPress on Monday. 

The Latino workers began working on the Gold Street site the first week of January, and they say they were always paid in cash. According to the New York Community Alliance for Worker Justice, Neiva hired them as “independent contractors” without the benefit of any insurance or Workman’s Compensation. 

“Imagine, this is just one crew,” Jorge said. “There are hundreds of guys this is happening to weekly.

Fed up trade unionists say contractors are exploiting immigrant workers and that there are many more workers being ripped off but are afraid to come forward. 

Latino construction workers on Monday are frustrated to learn they will still have to wait for their pay.

The NY Community Alliance for Worker Justice has also been advocating for another group of unpaid Latino workers on a Nieva job site at 181st Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. After much effort, that group has reportedly recovered their lost wages. 

Nieva Construction Corp. could not be reached for comment.

Downtown Brooklyn is undergoing a residential and commercial building boom. The cost of apartments at the tony Brooklyn Point building on Willoughby Street, for instance, started at $837,000 when they first went on the market three years ago. 

“It’s personal when these guys reach out to us,” Jorge said. “We understand what they’re going through.”

February 4, 2020

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