Workers’ Correspondents: Temps at Gilbane Construction Work Dangerous Conditions for Low Pay

By Sarah Ahmed

Temp workers contracting for Gilbane Construction Company in Charlotte, NC frequently face life-threatening conditions on job sites for very low pay and conduct work without the necessary safety equipment.

In one incident, two workers contracting through Staff Zone were slammed into a wall while removing a buckhoist, a type of construction elevator on the outside of a building, as a result of poor training.

On-site medical services do not treat severe injuries and require workers to stay in the medical offices under observation for designated periods of time in order to receive compensation. When accidents like these occur workers are forced to work through their injuries due to not being able to afford doctor visits and out of fear of retaliation from temp agencies.

“Everyone knows that when they go to a construction site it may be their last day of work,” one worker told Tribune.

Gilbane Co. has a history of unsafe working conditions, between 2009 and 2018 it received 35 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations. In 2018, Gilbane Co. was fined $20,000 by the Department of Labor after 24-year-old Juvenito Mata-Hernandez fell from a construction elevator nineteen stories to his death.

Workers contracted for Gilbane Co. are regularly expected to work outside of tall buildings without a harness.

Workers make between $9.50 and $10 per hour for unskilled labor or up to $17 an hour for skilled labor. Temp agencies charge construction companies over three times this rate while paying workers minimum wages. It is also common for workers to be assigned unskilled labor posts and then be expected to do skilled work using dangerous tools without the necessary training or safety equipment.

“If you’re a temp worker, you make close to nothing. And that’s a plight. There’s a lot of things that go down at these sites that are unconscionable.”

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