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Apple Project Faces Lien, Labor Issues

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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Technology giant Apple Inc. has recently come under fire for allegedly failing to pay a contractor millions of dollars and for its hiring practices related to a new store under construction in San Francisco.

Build Group, a contractor working on Apple's new $50 million flagship glass castle designed by Foster + Partners, has reportedly filed a $5.2 million lien against the project for nonpayment.

Apple store in New York
©iStock.com / stu99

Apple's flagship stores are high-profile projects, including this glass cube in New York City.

Meanwhile, local building trade groups are calling out the tech company for allegedly violating a commitment to hiring union workers.

The San Francisco Chronicle first broke the news of the contractor and union controversies Sept. 29.

Lien Filed

According to the news bureau, Build Group, of San Francisco, was forced to file a lien against the project because Apple was six months past due in paying for seismic work completed on the project.

“We finished our work in July and basically they are just not paying us anything—they just don’t care,” Build Group President and CEO Ross Edwards told the news outlet.

“Everybody says we did amazing work—and the largest company in the world won’t pay us. They keep blaming the other guy. We just don’t understand.”

©iStock.com / sudok1

Build Group completed its seismic work on the Apple project in July.

Apple officials say they are working to resolve the billing issue as quickly as possible. A spokesman for the company did not return a request for comment Monday (Oct. 5).

‘A Lot of Money’

Build Group has reportedly turned over more than 1,000 pages of documents outlining work performed and materials used on the project.

“It’s a lot of money to be owed,” Edwards added, noting that the cash in his business is typically about $20 million.

“A quarter of my business is wrapped up in that job.”

The San Francisco Chronicle notes that billing controversies are common on large construction projects.

Hiring Practices at Issue

Apple has also come under fire regarding its hiring practices on the new store, according to the report. Critics have picketed Apple stores and launched a website, www.theuglyhalfofappleinc.com.

Jay Bradshaw, director of organizing for the Carpenters Local Union No. 22, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Apple recently replaced the general contractor of the project, Pepper Construction, with Ledcor Construction Inc.

Bradshaw says the move violated an agreement that Apple would hire a general contractor that exclusively employs members of local craft unions.

Ledcor, as opposed to Pepper Construction, is a general contractor that has allegedly been unwilling to meet standard union pay scale on other jobs, Bradshaw said, according to the report.

“They have subs that do not pay area standards,” he said.

Ledcor did not respond to a request for comment Monday (Oct. 5).

Apple officials told the news bureau that all workers building the San Francisco store are union.

The glass and steel construction, located in Union Square at the former site of a Levi's retail outlet, is expected to open in the summer of 2016, reports say. It will feature two-story glass windows.

The store will be three blocks away from Apple's current flagship location, built in 2004.


Tagged categories: Business matters; General contractors; Labor; Retail; Unions; Workers

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