El Paso Construction Workers Prevail in Battle over Wage Theft

EL PASO, Texas – October 28, 2013 – Seventeen El Paso construction workers have received more than $21,000 in compensation from two north Texas businesses after filing liens on a Midland hotel property over unpaid wages.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the workers filed liens on the Marriott Springhill Suites Midland property after they were not paid for construction work they performed during the summer of 2012.  After months of negotiations, the owner of the property, Midland SHS Development, LP, and the project’s general contractor, G. Greenstreet, Inc., agreed to compensate the workers. In exchange the workers will not foreclose on the hotel.

“All we wanted was to get paid for the work we performed,” said Rudy Vega, one of the workers involved in the case. “We weren’t paid, so we did something about it.  I am glad I stood up for my rights and I hope others will too.”

While one in every thirteen Texas workers is employed in the construction industry, wage theft remains common, particularly among low-wage workers and day laborers. Under the Texas Property Code, a worker who is not paid for construction, demolition, or landscaping work has the right to file a lien on a property he/she worked on.  The worker can sue to foreclose on the property, force its sale, and collect the wages owed from the proceeds.

“Far too often employers get away with not paying workers after a job is done,” said TRLA attorney Michael S. Russell. “There are many powerful tools available to workers to fight back against wage theft. I’m pleased TRLA was able to secure justice for our clients.”

Because victims of wage theft face short deadlines to make claims, workers who believe they are owed wages are encouraged to contact Texas RioGrande Legal Aid at 1-888-988-9996 as soon as possible.

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality civil legal assistance and related educational services. For more information on TRLA visit us online at www.trla.org.


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