Workers underpaid at East Harlem stimulus-supported construction sites, claims say

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East Harlem construction workers at the nation’s first housing development to be built with federal stimulus money have been severely underpaid, workers have alleged. The U.S. Labor Department and the city department of Housing Preservation and Development are investigating claims that workers at Hobbs Court on East 102nd and 103rd streets, and at the Ciena on East 100th Street — slated to open in 2011 with 340 affordable apartment units in total — were scammed out of their rightful wages. A worker on the interior demolition at Hobbs Court said he was paid $32 per hour for a job that is lawfully required to pay $49 per hour, and on top of that, the work site was unsafe, with no fall protection or place to attach safety harnesses. The two developments received $26 million from the stimulus act’s Tax Credit Assistant Program, and the city chose Phipps Houses and Urban Builders Collaborative as the developers through competitive bidding. Lettire Construction Corp. is the general contractor. [NYDN]

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