Omni Hotel construction workers return to work but continue fight for higher pay
Workers are back on the job, but the fight over wages at the Omni Hotel project was front and center before the Metro Council labor committee Tuesday night.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Workers are back on the job, but the fight over wages at the Omni Hotel project was front and center before the Metro Council labor committee Tuesday night.
Attorney David Suetholz, who is advising the workers, and Jim Smith, the attorney for the general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, spoke to the committee.
“Workers are installing drywall,” Suetholz said. “Just floors below them, people are doing the exact same thing, and there is a $17 an hour wage difference.”
About 100 workers walked off the job last Wednesday, saying they were unfairly being paid different rates on different floors.
Brasfield & Gorrie said the first three floors of the hotel use a different contractor than the fourth floor and up. Smith said the work on the lower levels is more complicated and requires a higher level of skill.
The company said it does not control what contractors or subcontractors pay, as long as they follow the wage requirements in the agreements.
“What rates might be paid was not in any way dictated by anything other than the contractor itself,” Smith said.
The general contractor is suggesting workers bring up any issues directly to their employer, something the workers say they have already tried.
“These are immigrant workers, and I’m very proud that they enjoyed our rights," Suetholz said. "They believed in the rule of law in our country and stood up for themselves."
Brasfield & Gorrie is fighting back against claims that it is discriminating against Latino workers, saying it meets all diversity requirements on the project.
“Those quotas are responded to on a monthly basis, and all of those quotas have been met, and we’re proud of that fact,” Smith said.
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