Restoration Workers from Ground Zero Sue for Unpaid Overtime

September 20, 2007

Workers who cleaned buildings of World Trade Center debris around ground zero after Sept. 11 sued several companies they say underpaid them while making millions in profits.

Nine of the workers filed a suit seeking class-action status against a dozen private companies and employers who hired people to clean dust and debris from private office buildings and apartments after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The workers “risked their health and safety” to clean the buildings filled with dust or debris from the towers’ collapse, the lawsuit said.

Some companies rapidly expanded, adding 900 workers to a 100-person staff, and “profited handsomely from these cleanup jobs,” the lawsuit said. One company, Maxons Restorations Inc., increased its revenue from $10 million in 2000 to up to $50 million in 2001 because of their work around ground zero, the lawsuit said.

The companies ignored state labor laws and refused to pay the workers overtime, often paying them a set fee of $60 for an eight-hour shift, the lawsuit said. The companies subcontracted some of the work to smaller businesses to avoid detection, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit sought unpaid overtime for all workers who weren’t paid overtime for the jobs cleaning private buildings.

Telephone calls Wednesday to Maxoms Restorations and other companies for which numbers were listed were not returned.

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