July 30, 2015
Compiled By Steve Wishina And Neal Tepel
Juan Deras, a commercial painter in the Denver area, was fired in February after he asked his boss for a respirator to protect him from inhaling toxic fumes.
He told The Colorado Independent that she responded by asking “So I’m to give you an armor suit?” Honduran immigrant Florencio Games got stiffed out of 22 days pay after he worked 75-hour weeks last fall painting an apartment complex in the suburb of Centennial. That kind of wage theft and contempt for safety is an industry-wide problem, says Leilani Clark, a researcher with District Council 15 of the International Painters Union and Allied Trades—so the union has launched a Constructing Justice campaign. It’s trying to get developers to refuse to hire contractors known to violate workers’ rights. But earlier this month, an official at the University of Colorado’s Denver campus told the union he could not refuse to hire subcontractors with histories of safety and wage violations, because contracting is a state process requiring competitive bids. Read more here.