State investigating use of shelter workers at Boston Marriott
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A prominent article in the Boston Globe today revealed that state investigators are looking into the use and treatment of out-of-state shelter workers in the renovation of rooms at the Boston Copley Marriott. Union carpenters, painters and other union members have been demonstrating twice a week for months at the site against Baystate Interiors, Inc. of Woburn for undermining area standard for carpenters' wages and benefits.

Baystate is renovating several floors of rooms at the pricey downtown hotel owned by Host Hotels and using a California-based company named Installations Plus. Installations is using workers from a missionary shelter in Philadelphia to do work at the Marriott and allegedly violating wage and hour laws to do it.

The workers come from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation shelter in Philadelphia run by Victory Outreach International, an evangelical group based in the San Diego area.

“Our concern is that Host Hotels is trying to take advantage of the recession by bringing in out-of-state laborers to do work that has traditionally been done by local union tradespeople,’’ said Mark Erlich, president of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

The investigation is not the first trouble enforcement authorities have found on the site. The subcontractors working on the project--including Installations Plus--have been issued "Stop Work Orders" and paid fines for not having proper workers' compensation insurance.

Click here to view a NERCC-produced video about the demonstrations at the Boston Copley Marriott.