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Workers Unjustly Fired by Joint Employer, Settlement Reached

Reston, VA (October 11, 2017) -- 16 workers who were employed by Green JobWorks received settlement checks at the end of September from Engineered Demolition after being fired for raising a safety issue in December 2016.

Green JobWorks, a temporary staffing company, provided Engineered Demolition with workers for a project. However, Green JobWorks did not participate in the settlement. 

Through LIUNA, the workers charged Engineered Demolition with Unfair Labor Practices alleging that they were required to operate gas-powered equipment indoors without proper ventilation. Without sufficient ventilation, the carbon-monoxide produced by the equipment can lead to nausea, lightheadedness and, most severely, suffocation.

Green JobWorks’ employees began working in mid-November 2016, and on December 1, the fire department was called after the workers’ complaints were not addressed. After the department left, a supervisor from Engineered Demolition tried to figure out who made the call that alerted people off site of the unaddressed safety issue. A few hours later, the supervisor dismissed Green JobWorks employees, believing it was one of them who made the call.

After they were fired, the workers went to Steve Lanning, LIUNA Mid-Atlantic Director of Organizing, with their concerns about how they would be able to provide heat and food for their families. “The union organizers listened to the workers, explained their rights, and scheduled a meeting with the Department of Labor for them to give their testimonies,” said Lanning.

LIUNA agreed to withdraw the charge after the employees received their settlement checks.

“It makes up for the days of work lost and the pay that corresponds, but it does not make up for the unfair treatment,” said Lanning of the financial compensation. “I hope this serves as a learning experience for contractors, to take measures to protect worker safety, and for employees, to speak up and seek union help if they are in a similar situation.”

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The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Mid-Atlantic Region represents more than 40,000 working men and women in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and North Carolina. 

 

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