National News

Immigrant workers rally in NE Portland to shed light on problems in construction industry

Posted July 28

— A group representing immigrant construction workers say they're victims of rampant wage theft with many workers too afraid to come forward.

On Thursday the group held a rally that was organized by Portland Jobs with Justice for Immigrant Carpenters in Portland-area construction.

Workers took the podium to talk about instances of wage theft and other abuses they say they've experienced.

Workers say Thursday's rally was to shed light on what they call a huge problem in Portland's construction industry.

"Portland is under a huge construction boom right now. We got cranes all over, buildings going up left and right. But there's an underground problem," said Ben Besom with Northwest Carpenters Union. "It's a really hard number to quantify because a lot of the people being exploited on these projects are afraid to come out of the shadows and tell their stories."

Some of those at the rally also spoke of threats of violence and say that some of the workers are terrified. They hope to get better training, safety and equal pay, among other things.

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