IOWA DERECHO 2020

Texas workers helping with derecho recovery will be paid

BluSky says they had paid subcontractor, but agreed to pay wages and travel for workers

Community and union leaders join workers as they walk off their job site at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids on Monda
Community and union leaders join workers as they walk off their job site at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The workers are employed by BluSky, a restoration contractor working on storm damage repair at the facility, and say they have not been paid in 21 days for their work. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Workers from Texas who said they had not been paid for nearly a month of construction work in Cedar Rapids will be paid by a Colorado company overseeing the project.

BluSky Restoration Contractors, a Colorado-based company, will pay more than $30,000 to at least six men who had been working with a subcontractor to repair ceiling leaks, hang drywall, install insulation, paint and clean apartments at Cottage Grove Place since Oct. 16.

Company representatives earlier this week said they were surprised the workers hadn’t been paid.

“We were shocked,” said Mike Erekson, chief operations officer for BluSky. “Our crews and subcontractors are a vital part of it. We immediately jumped in and started investigating.”

Erekson said BluSky’s records showed they had paid the subcontractor, Pablo Ramirez, of Houston, and didn’t know whether or why workers hadn’t been paid what they were owed.

Company representatives met with the workers Friday and reached a deal to pay wages and travel expenses, the Center for Worker Justice reported. BluSky confirmed they planned to pay the workers.

The Gazette reported on Monday about 25 people marching to Cottage Grove Place, where the workers walked off the job to join the protest. Groups that worked toward the resolution include church leaders and union groups.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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