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Tejada to Participate in Protest Against Arlington Company

Re-elected County Board member Walter Tejada at Arlington Democrats 2011 election victory party(Updated at 11:00 p.m.) Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada will participate in a protest against an Arlington-based company Tuesday morning.

The demonstration, organized in part by the Laborers International Union of North America, will protest the “use of immigration status against workers” by Corinthian Contractors, Inc. Arlington residents and local immigration groups are expected to protest outside the company’s Shirlington-area headquarters.

Tejada will “stop by the event,” according to a spokeswoman.

In a press advisory, protest organizers accused Corinthian Contractors of threatening laborers with deportation after they complained about not receiving a fair wage.

On December 2, a group of workers sent a letter to their employer, Corinthian Contractors, Inc., asking to be paid the legally required minimum wages for their work on a DC Water project. On December 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested the workers at their usual meeting spot as they waited for their ride to work. Two bystanders were also arrested.

Following their arrest, Corinthian Contractors continued to threaten the workforce with immigration enforcement. Finally, on December 31, 2012, Corinthian Contractors announced that it suddenly discovered that the I-9s of the entire workforce needed to be immediately “re-verified.” Corinthian took the opportunity during the “re-verification” process to fire almost half of the workers working on DC Water projects. The vast majority of those fired had signed a letter complaining of Corinthian’s failure to pay the legally required wages.

These workers have had their lives torn apart. Some have been deported. Others who remain have seen family members deported. All are still awaiting a determination of their status. And all of this turmoil to is due to the ruthlessness of a contractor who was offended that workers would try to hold him accountable to pay legally required wages.

On Tuesday, these workers will tell Corinthian Contractors that they cannot be intimidated out of their rights and will request the public and public officials to join them in demanding justice for Corinthian’s workers!

The protest is scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday at 3126 S. Abingdon Street.

In 2010, Corinthian Contractors completed work on a $1.5 million contract for the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, according to its website. The company has not responded to a call seeking comment.

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