Homeless workers get paychecks

August 09, 1994|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Sun Staff Writer

Triangle Contracting Co. has issued paychecks worth more than $19,000 for 31 homeless men and women who were left unpaid after being recruited to clean up construction debris at the University of Baltimore, the state said yesterday.

Richard Avallone, chief of the Prevailing Wage Office in the state's Division of Labor and Industry, which ensures that workers on state construction jobs receive a union-level wage, said he has handed out paychecks to nearly two dozen people.

"Most of them were very happy. They couldn't believe it," Mr. Avallone said, adding that he's still looking for eight workers who are owed money.

The workers were recruited earlier this year outside Baltimore soup kitchens by one of Triangle's subcontractors, Buddy London, who owns a cleaning company called Storm Troopers. Some workers said they put in 8 to 10 weeks before mid-June, when Mr. London packed up his equipment and disappeared without paying their wages.

Mr. Avallone's office had been looking for Mr. London since a homeless shelter employee reported the problem to the state June 13.

After determining that Mr. London could not afford to pay the wages, the state said Triangle, the general contractor that hired Storm Troopers to clean up the new Robert Merrick School of Business, was responsible for ensuring the workers got paid.

After several weeks of negotiations, Triangle issued the checks Thursday, Mr. Avallone said.

Corey Erickson, one of the men who was recruited by Mr. London outside Our Daily Bread, a Baltimore soup kitchen, said he was happy to receive a check but felt the state underestimated the amount he was owed.

He said he received about $750 for more than seven weeks' work. But, he said, since he didn't have proof of his hours, he would have to accept what he got.

But, after months of excuses, "I feel better. . . . Something happened for us," he said.

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