The Cheating System and Superstorm Sandy

The Cheating System and Superstorm Sandy

How did a temp agency from California influence Super Storm Sandy cleanup work in New Jersey? It didn’t pay their workers for all of their hours, until we stepped in.

We rewind to November and December 2012 when this process was beginning.
And we rewind from the site of work, through a contracted cleaning company, to a temp agency that ultimately hired the workers. Not all of the details are known but here is what has been observed in one of the Superstorm cases we have dealt with:

The Hoboken University Medical Center of Hoboken, NJ had been flooded and needed some demolition, cleanup and renovation work done. A cleaning company, RMC (Restoration Management Company) would assist in this effort. They partnered with a temp agency, Quality Staffing Services, to provide the workforce to do the actual work. Both RMC and Quality Staffing Services are from California.

Representatives of Quality Staffing Services would pass by the Elizabeth, NJ corner to advertise that they were doing cleanup work and promising $10 per hour.
About 40-50 workers were contracted by Quality Staffing Services for this job, and they were transported by bus to the worksite in Hoboken. Work was typically done for 12 hours per day, 6-7 days per week. However, about 75% of them had problems with unpaid hours and overtime for their work from November and December. Pay was erratic, checks were for incomplete hours with regular time under 40 hours, and a few hours of overtime paid at time and a half. Some were missing pay for a full day of work. These checks, eventually didn’t arrive at the time indicated by the agency; workers would wait hours to get paid.

So some of the workers called New Labor and called a meeting at the pick up site back in November. After speaking with a supervisor of Quality Staffing Services, the almost fifteen workers decided as a group to initiate a USDOL complaint for unpaid wages. Within two weeks of the action, the workers that complained about unpaid wages claimed to have been paid their missing hours resulting in thousands of dollars recovered in unpaid wages.

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