By Eesha Williams | Special to the Vermont Guardian

BENNINGTON — Three Latino men at a gathering of about 40 supporters in Bennington Thursday said a Pennsylvania-based construction company had refused to pay them for weeks of work. Only one of the men spoke English. They said they and at least 10 of their co-workers on the site where a new Hampton Inn Hotel is being erected were owed thousands of dollars in wages from work performed more than a month ago.

“We don’t even have money to buy food,” said Jose Villanueva, one of the workers. “We came here all the way from California because they said they would pay us $15 an hour.”

A Montpelier-based labor union, Ironworkers Local 474, last week hired a lawyer to sue the workers’ employer on their behalf, even though the men are not union members, said union spokesman Patrick Long. “An injury to one is an injury to all,” Long said. “I don’t care if these men are legal or illegal immigrants, union members or not union members. They were wronged and so we’re helping them.”

Both workers told the Guardian they do have proper documentation that allows them to work in the United States.

Full article available at the Vermont Guardian website (requires paid subscription)