AS EVIDENCE OF ABUSE EMERGES, GW ADMINISTRATION TURNS A BLIND EYE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASErnrnFebruary 9th, 2010rnrnContact: Ruth Castel-Branco, 202.489.2273rnrnAS EVIDENCE OF ABUSE EMERGES, GW ADMINISTRATION TURNS A BLIND EYErnrnWASHINGTON, DC- While George Washington University markets itself as a place of opportunity, for iron workers building the university’s state of the art Square 54 project, the university has become a site of abuse, misfortune and intimidation.rnrnThis fall, workers from DC-based subcontractor Wings Enterprises Inc.-which is performs concrete reinforcement on Square 54-walked out on strike in response to low pay, lack of health insurance and drinking water, and verbal abuse from management. This week, three Unfair Labor Practice charges were filed with against Wings for coercing and firing a group of employees in retaliation. More than 30 workers have been unlawfully terminated.rnrnDespite supportive words, George Washington University, who owns the land for and commissioned the Square 54 project, has turned a blind eye to the situation. “President Knapp sent us a letter claiming that he was inspired by our concern,” said Landon Elkind, a freshman at the university and member of the Progressive Student Union which has engaged in several actions in solidarity with the Wings workers. “Yet the administration has done nothing to push for a resolution to the strike or to halt the illegal firings of workers. As GW students, it’s important to us that the workers building our facilities are treated fairly.”rnrn”When we have asked for water, the company ignored our requests. When we asked for a sick day, the company punished us. When we asked for rest, the company abused us. When we asked for justice, the company retaliated. I believe that in the eyes of God we are all equal and these types of injustices do not please God,” said Felix Paz, one of the strikers from GW University’s Square 54 project.rnrn”As an institution committed to public service, including the fair treatment of people, George Washington University has the responsibility to ensure that workers on its job sites are treated fairly, and that the strike is resolved immediately,” concluded Joslyn Williams, President of the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO.rnrn###rnrnDC Jobs with Justice is a coalition of labor organizations, community groups, religious organizations and student groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just DC.

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