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Advocates Call for Wage, Safety Safeguards for Plaza Saltillo Workers

Syeda Hasan for KUT News
Advocates from the Workers Defense Project gathered outside the Capital Metro headquarters yesterday, calling for living wages, independent safety oversight and expanded safety training for workers on the Saltillo Project.

Capital Metro unveiled plans Thursday for its Plaza Saltillo redevelopment, but some labor groups are concerned about working conditions on the project.

The 10-acre space will be redeveloped to include new apartments, retail, office space and a public park. Capital Metro does not expect any interruptions to service on the redline commuter train that runs through Plaza Saltillo, but they’re hoping the improvements draw more riders.

“Medina and Attayac will be new paseos that are pedestrian- and bicycle-only streets, and we’re extending the Lance Armstrong bikeway from I-35 to the rail stop," says Jason Thumlert with Endeavor Real Estate, the group redeveloping the site.

Thumlert says they also plan to preserve surrounding trees and repurpose historic buildings. Construction is expected to begin late next year. But some labor groups are already raising concerns about working conditions on the site.

Outside the press conference at Capital Metro Headquarters, the non-profit Workers Defense Project held a rally to call for better standards for construction workers. The group’s executive director Jose Garza says they want CapMetro to include certain protections in its contract with Endeavor.

“They are to pay a living wage, to provide basic safety training for people working on construction sites, they are to ensure that every worker is insured by worker’s compensation, and they are to ensure that there is independent onsite monitoring," Garza says. 

According to CapMetro Board Member Terry Mitchell, those issues have already been addressed.

“Capital Metro is requiring a living wage, is requiring a safe workforce, and has provisions in there that there’s consequences if those things don’t happen," Mitchell says. "So, in terms of the details, those are still being worked out, but we support those things.”

Capital Metro will vote on the agreement with developers on Monday.

Syeda Hasan is a senior editor at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @syedareports.
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