The future Hampton Inn on George Street in Pawtucket was the scene of an “area standards rally” on Wednesday, protesting the labor practices of Vayo Drywall, a New Hampshire-based contractor performing work on the site. Alvaro Gonzales, identified as the owner of Vayo Drywall, is alleged to have underpaid Ronald Castro $3,000 for two hotel floors worth of drywall hanging last December. The complaint, filed with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RI DLT), can be seen here.
Vayo Drywall has incurred two safety and licensing violations (see here) and has paid their workers “well below” the area standard wage for this type of labor, said Benjamin Branchaud of the New England Regional Council of of Carpenters (NERCC) Local 94.
“Area standards are crucial to maintain for the benefit of the construction industry as a whole,” continued Branchaud. “When a contractor undercuts the standard wages of an area, it has a negative impact on the area’s economy and tax base. Each time this happens, we consider it an attack on the middle class, something we will not stand for.”
The carpenter’s union was joined by Fuerza Laboral, a union-backed community group that stands up for immigrant workers. “No one should have to decide between paying rent or feeding their family because of the greed of an unscrupulous employer,” said organizer Raul Figueroa.
The phone for Vayo Drywall is not in service. The company could not be reached for comment. The Hampton Inn project is the conversion of the hotel from a Comfort Inn.
“We shouldn’t have to live in a world where workers do their part and get cheated out of their wages,” said Michael Holmes, business representative of Local 94.