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More on Mayo Posted by on

The Mayo Group and owner John McGrail came under public scrutiny again in downtown Worcester when a group of nonunion carpenters set up a strike line outside the Bancroft Commons property at the end of last week and continued it earlier this week. Today, the carpenters demonstrated in front of Mayo's corporate headquarters in Dorchester.

The carpenters are owed $55,000 for work they did on the project for Ramirez Drywall. The subcontractor has not been paid for the work and so he has been unable to pay the workers.

Ramirez and the carpenters contacted NERCC Organizer Manny Gines for assistance, after seeing that the union had helped other workers receive owed wages recently.

Bancroft Commons is a major residential renovation project covering several blocks downtown, bordering Worcester Common and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The project has been the site of consistent problems.

Late in 2007, NERCC Organizers talked to nonunion carpenters on the site who were having issues with the way they were being paid. One carpenter told a reporter from the Worcester Telegram that "sometimes" taxes were taken out of his check. The story was given prominent coverage in the paper and Mayo began its strategy of portraying the union as the boogeyman to explain away issues on the job.

Several months later Clive McFarlane, a columnist for the Worcester Telegram, wrote a second piece in the paper, detailing allegations by more nonunion immigrant carpenters employed on the Bancroft Commons project. This time the story got worse. Three of them told McFarlane that they had not been paid wages owed for work they did for Mayo. They were each owed more than $1,700 and had filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office.

Things got worse in January of 2009, when the Mayo Group were indicted by a Worcester Grand Jury for improper handling and disposal of asbestos removed from the property. Investigators alleged that the company:
--failed to conduct a survey to determine whether asbestos was in the building
--threw demolition debris, which turned out to include asbestos, out of second story windows into an open dumpster
--scheduled asbestos to be disposed of at a landfill not approved for asbestos
--did not notify state authorities, as required by law, of asbestos demolition.
--ignored a stop work order from the state and continued to remove asbestos from areas of the building where residents were living.

McGrail and one of the Mayo Group Companies, JMRealty eventually pleaded guilty to several of the counts related to improper handling of asbestos, evasion of unemployment insurance, failure to provide pay records, and failure to withhold income tax. McGrail narrowly escaped jail time. He and JMRealty were fined $100,000 each and sentenced to three years of probation.

After the strike line was established last week in Worcester, representatives of the Mayo Group spoke to Ramirez and the carpenters, but did not pay them. When contacted by the Telegram and Worcester Magazine, Mayo suddenly claimed there were quality issues with the work produced and the issue was the result of the Carpenters union trying to exploit the situation.

NECN covers Mayo asbestos embarrassment Posted by on

Members of Local 107 in Worcester have been holding a banner and passing out leaflets in front of the Bancroft building, warning residents, neighbors and passersby that they may have been exposed to asbestos.

The Mayo Group was indicted by the Attorney General's office earlier this year on five counts of asbestos related violations of the Clean Air Act, a story that was published on

New England Cable News just did a story about the Local 107 activity.

The Mayo Group has admitted to improper filing of notices in relation to asbestos removal, but they have lied to residents at Bancroft Commons about the extent of the charges, telling residents; "the allegations center only upon the timing of the filing of notices".

While the Mayo Group was indicted for failure to properly file notices and conduct inspections, they were also indicted for "failure to comply with procedures for asbestos emissions control (2 counts), and improper disposal of asbestos waste (1count)." The Attorney General??s press release is attached and highlighted, for reference.

The Mayo group has been the subject of investigation and protests by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters for a couple of years.

Organizers have found immigrant workers being paid improperly, with taxes not being withheld. Despite pledges that they do and will hire contractors that comply with state and federal laws, the Mayo Group??s practices have been questionable.

In October 2007 the Worcester Telegram and Gazette ran a front page story including claims by NERCC that workers were improperly paid. The story included information from a worker on the site:

"One Mayo employee, who did not give his name, said outside the building that he is paid monthly by check and "sometimes" taxes are taken out."

The Mayo Group has tried to distract their clients, the public and residents of their projects from independently investigated and reported facts by smearing the union. But the Carpenters Union has only highlighted facts that otherwise might go unnoticed. If these truths are embarrassing or inconvenient to the business model of the Mayo Group, they must consider that in their future operations.