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Carpenters who were cheated of tens of thousands of dollars in wages reached a settlement with Capstone Development and Cottage Builders yesterday to receive their pay. The companies are the owners and developers of the “Cottage of Durham,” an upscale housing project where the carpenters were employed. It will serve students attending the University of New Hampshire.
The carpenters solicited help in getting their pay after their employer, Builders Construction Services of Alabama, refused to pay them and then fired them and evicted them from company-provided housing when they asked for their wages.
The Carpenters union and local church, student and community groups supported the carpenters, holding a high profile march and demonstration last week. The event garnered significant local and regional media attention (link) that put Capstone under a public spotlight and raised questions about other troubles the Alabama-based company has had with college housing projects, including one in Connecticut.
“We’re happy that these carpenters are finally going to be paid,” said Joe Donahue a representative of the Carpenters Union in New Hampshire. “Wage theft is a real problem in the construction industry right now. It drives down industry standards and drives qualified people out of the industry. Capstone and other developers and general contractors need to be held accountable for the subcontractors they hire. They should implement better controls and have severe penalties for members of their building teams who break the law.”