Work

Contractor sues Aud Authority, Oneida County over unpaid work on Nexus Center

The contractor working on the Nexus Center in downtown Utica is suing the Upper Mohawk Valley Auditorium Authority and Oneida County for at least $10.4 million for work completed on the project. 



a close up of a bridge: Crews continue construction work at the site of the Nexus Center on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Utica. The Nexus project, which formally broke ground in mid-February, is funded through three sources: state funding; the Aud Authority; and an increase in the county's hotel occupancy fund.


© ALEX COOPER / OBSERVER-DISPATCH
Crews continue construction work at the site of the Nexus Center on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Utica. The Nexus project, which formally broke ground in mid-February, is funded through three sources: state funding; the Aud Authority; and an increase in the county’s hotel occupancy fund.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Oneida County, concerns the 170,000-square-foot athletic facility adjacent to the Adirondack Bank Center on Route 5S in Utica. The $50 million Nexus Center is expected to hold four ice rinks, locker rooms, spectator seating and other amenities for youth tournaments when complete. 

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Construction on the project has been halted since May due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns over cash flow. The contractor, Hueber-Breuer of Syracuse, is seeking the amount owed for completed construction, as well as interest since July 6. 

The contract between the Aud Authority and Hueber-Breuer allowed work to be suspended for 90 days, according to the lawsuit. 

Hueber-Breuer did not respond to a request for comment.

So far, the county has paid $9.7 million of $18.1 million owed to the contractor on behalf of the Aud Authority, according to the lawsuit. The county was being reimbursed by the state for up to $22 million in payments, as a result of a grant through Empire State Development. 

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said the county has fronted the money for similar large scale projects, such as the redevelopment of the Adirondack Bank Center, on behalf of the Aud Authority before state reimbursement. 

When COVID-19 hit, the county wasn’t able to continue fronting the

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Federal Labor Board Accuses Google Contractor of Shipping Work Overseas to Bust Pittsburgh Union

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint this week against HCL America that accuses the Google contractor of violating its employees’ labor rights through a bevy of union-busting tactics. The complaint alleges that the company, a subsidiary of the India-based contracting titan HCL Technologies, illegally pressured its Pittsburgh workforce not to unionize and retaliated against their efforts by partially shifting their jobs overseas.



a large green field in front of a building


© Screenshot: HCL Technologies | YouTube


Last fall, a group of roughly 80 Google contractors became among the first in the company’s history to unionize after voting to become affiliated with North America’s largest industrial union, United Steelworkers. Following the vote, the labor board alleges that HCL began siphoning off the team’s responsibilities, which included data analysis and machine learning training under a contract with Google, to its employees in Poland.

“Most egregiously, HCL has been eroding its Pittsburgh workforce by brazenly moving work done here to its facility in Krakow, Poland, to retaliate against workers for exercising their right to choose union representation,” Joshua Borden, who serves on the union’s negotiating committee, said in a press release. “Management would rather break the law than negotiate in good faith for a fair contract.”

HCL and Google did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. The complaint claims that HCL higher-ups violated federal labor laws by threatening to withhold wages and promotions if contractors at Google’s Bakery Square headquarters continued to push for unionization. Management also promised to come down on rule violations more strictly if a union was formed, according to the labor board.

The company allegedly began limiting job training opportunities and instituting periodic “quick check” quizzes for workers in retaliation, per the New York Times. In the year since the vote, employees say more than a dozen positions that belonged to the

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Google Contractors Say Their Work Is Being Shipped to Poland After Unionizing

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MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

A year ago, 80 Google contractors employed by HCL America in Pittsburgh voted to unionize with US Steelworkers—a historic victory for white collar tech workers in the U.S. Since then, the fight to win their first union contract has been an uphill battle. 

On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint against HCL, alleging that the company has violated U.S. labor by failing to bargain with the U.S. Steelworkers union, implementing unilateral changes, and transferring bargaining unit work to non-union members working in a facility in Krakow, Poland. 

“[HCL] engaged in [the conduct described] because employees formed, joined and assisted the Union and engaged in concerted activities, and to discourage employees from engaging in these activities,” the NLRB complaint states. 

In 2019, nearly two-thirds of the 80 contractors in Pittsburgh who work at Google’s Bakery Square office voted in favor of unionization. While they are not employed directly by Google, many of them work as analysts on Google Shopping.

The list of allegations against managers and supervisors is extensive, and predates the formation of the union. The complaint alleges that HCL management interrogated employees about the union activities of other employees, told employees that the “granting a promotion and wage increase” would be delayed because of the union, “restricted the distribution of union insignia” during non-work hours, and “threatened employees with stricter rules and policies” if workers voted in the union. 

The 1935 National Labor Relations Act makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who engage in union organizing activity, and requires that employers bargain with the union over changes to work policy and union positions. 

“We’ve had a firing freeze for our office, and as people have been leaving, they’ve been offering to replace them in Krakow,” said Josh

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Contractors threaten to stop civil work over pending bills

A section of contractors has threatened to stop all on-going civil works in the city if the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) does not clear their pending bills within seven days.

However, the cash-strapped civic body seems unfazed by the threat.

Civic Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that the BBMP can make payments only when its financial condition improves.

K.T. Manjunath, president of the BBMP Karyanirata Guttigedarara Sangha, claimed that bills amounting to ₹2,500 crore are pending. “Over the past three months, no bill has been cleared. The BBMP is using the pandemic as a ruse to delay payments,” he alleged.

Contractors are currently carrying out civil works, such as repair and strengthening of drains, parks, footpaths and roads, in various wards worth nearly ₹6,000 crore.

Mr. Manjunath said, “The civic body has been able to collect nearly ₹2,000 crore from citizens as property tax. Why can’t the money be used to clear pending bills?”

However, contractors belonging to another association said they did not support the Sangha. K. Ambikapathy, president of the BBMP Contractors’ Association, said that they have had discussions with both Administrator Gaurav Gupta and Mr. Prasad.

“Both assured that bills for works taken up under the Nava Nagarothana scheme, 14th Finance Commission and State Finance Commission will be cleared from Thursday,” he said and added that some issues with regard to clearing bills were the result of violation of rules by the office of the chief accounts officer (CAO).

Recently, the CAO R. Govindraj was repatriated on charges of dereliction of duty and violation of rules in clearing bills of contractors. The office of the CAO was sealed and an inquiry is under way.

Mr. Prasad told The Hindu that bills for works taken up under various schemes will be cleared with funds from the State

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Construction grinds to a halt as Msunduzi Municipality has to raise more than R100m to pay contractors for work done

By Thami Magubane Time of article published27m ago

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Durban – Work on the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) in Pietermaritzburg may be halted as the Msunduzi Municipality needs to find more than R100million to pay for work that is currently under way.

The total value of the work currently under way is valued at around R240m.

The municipality successfully applied to National Treasury for a roll-over of around R90m that had not been used and now needs to raise about R150m from its own internal funds to be able to pay for this work on the Moses Mabhida Road.

It admitted recently that between the months of August and June, the contractors had not been paid.

Last week, administrator of the municipality Scelo Duma stated the municipality was struggling financially.

The project has been plagued by extensive delays and poor spending, which has forced the National Treasury to cut its funding.

DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola said the project was key to the city and abandoning it would be disastrous.

“The municipality has committed more than R200million on this project but it does not have this money, it has to find it somewhere from its own internal budgets.

“We were lucky in that the National Treasury approved the roll-over of about R90million of the funds that had been committed, after the council wrote to them detailing why they were not able to be spent.

“That means we are now short of about R150million.

“The situation is very difficult, I always say to colleagues that if the contractors could hear the conversation we are having about the finances of the city, they would abandon that site,” he said.

Majola said it was a bad move to cancel the funding for the project by the

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