Was it the Letterman Show that used to feature “Stupid Pet Tricks’? The tricks were invariably dumb but the animals were invariably cute. Employers who cheat their workers and somehow think they’re going to get away with it are not cute.
We had featured the new Holiday Inn (under construction on Broadway in Eureka) a few weeks ago when we couldn’t figure out how a hotel that hadn’t opened yet could possibly have been voted “best” in its category in the Times-Standard “Best of Humboldt” poll. We got a nice note from the general manager of the McKinleyville Holiday Inn explaining that the real winners were the Holidays in Mack Town and Fortuna and that the error was due to a typo by the Times-Standard.
We were left wondering why construction was proceeding so slowly until last week when the news broke that the project had foundation problems as well as numerous wage and hour violations such as not paying some workers since January (!), over a dozen serious safety violations, and that some 31 workers had been illegally classified as independent contractors. The details were well-reported in the Times-Standard, the NCJ and in Richard Marks’ blog. I hear that the Carpenters’ Marianne Hassler deserves a lot of credit for setting things straight.
Those of us who weren’t involved can only stand on the sidelines shaking our heads and wondering, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Did they really think they were going to get away with cheating workers out of $250K and no one would notice? Or is this another instance of failing to monitor a contractor? ( See our earlier post about the perils of contracting without monitoring.) Let’s hope this ugly mess is resolved soon. All we need is another unfinished eyesore on Broadway.
Here’s something to make you feel old: Fidel Castro turned 87 the other day. The old devil has outlasted nine US Presidents so far and has turned the reins of government over to his “kid” brother Raul, who has been assiduously seeking foreign investment. He recently gave the go-ahead to construct something that hasn’t been built in Cuba since the 1959 revolution- golf courses! Yes, those emblems of bourgeois prosperity (and money-making machines) are being built- but of course not by Americans. No, our government continues its insane policy of isolating a natural trading partner while the Canadians get richer and richer building hotel after hotel. It’s said you can’t tell the south side of the island from Waikiki. You won’t hear me often complaining about government rules but closing off trade with Cuba has hurt American businesses, the Cuban people and hasn’t done a thing to dislodge the Castro government, has it?
Enough already! Does Barack Obama have the political capital and will to end this travesty? We’ll see.