Construction workers walk off downtown job site amid pay problems

Crew was working on new CPS Energy headquarters

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Work at a downtown construction site came to a grinding halt Monday morning and not because of the Veterans Day holiday.

About 60-70 workers who were scheduled to be on the job walked out in protest, due to what they say have been problems with money, namely missing paychecks.

“People have not been getting paid, bounced checks, just ridiculous business practices,” said James Garcia, one of the crew members.

Garcia and others said the problem has been persisting for weeks, leaving workers struggling.

And they said this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“I have an old check since four months ago, waiting for money,” said Carlos Lechuga. “We need to pay bills, the rent, the payment for the cars.”

Construction crew carries signs in protest about paychecks
Construction crew carries signs in protest about paychecks (KSAT 12 News)

The crew has been working on a project to build a new downtown headquarters for CPS Energy between McCullough and Brooklyn Streets, not far from the Tobin Center.

However, even they say that the utility is not to blame.

A spokesman for CPS Energy told KSAT 12 News that the fault lies with a subcontractor of a subcontractor.

Workers named the company as JMM Construction.

A KSAT News crew caught up with the man in charge of the company, Miguel Candelaria, outside a convenience store on the South side of town Monday morning.

There in the parking lot, he appeared to be making good on some of those paychecks, paying some employees.

He told us that he had a check for any of the workers who would travel from the downtown worksite and meet with him there.

Candelaria blamed the pay problems on a clerical error.

“It's been a communication problem on the office part and we are correcting that as we speak,” he said.

He was not able to offer specifics on what went wrong.

Candelaria said due to the holiday, his main office was closed and he was not able to get to the root of the problem at that time.

“It will not happen again,” he said. “That we know. For sure.”

Still, to the workers, those words ring hollow.

They say based on previous history, they expect to be in the same situation in the future.

About the Author: