In Newark’s East Ward at the construction site of the new district High School of Architecture & Interior Design, officials from the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development have posted STOP-WORD ORDER signs.
When the enterprising reporters from Tapinto Newark called district offices for information, Nancy Deering, spokesperson for Newark Public Schools, said that she “has no knowledge” of any change in the direction of the 155 Jefferson Street project. Other district personnel contacted did not respond.
So it goes in New Jersey’s largest school district as Superintendent Roger Leon struggles to deal with the fall-out from news that he had foisted a deal onto taxpayers that would force them to pay twice as much the new high school is worth; where non-unionized construction workers were illegally hired, underpaid, and poorly treated at a mandated prevailing wage site; where the private developer Albert Nigri of Summit Assets in New York City announced last week he’d build apartments at the site instead; and where the labor union called Laborers’ International Union of North America filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“Our strongest enforcement tool is to stop work immediately on a public construction site when workplace violations are egregious and readily apparent,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Performing public work is a privilege, not a right, and we will not tolerate abuses to workers or the law.”
Yet Newark Public Schools “has no knowledge” of any change in plans for the new high school.
I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.