Workers who built NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi faced harsh conditions, according to a report today in the New York Times. The revelations come despite the school issuing a statement of labor values guaranteeing fair treatment of laborers.
Dozens of men who were interviewed by the Times said they often worked 11 to 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week. The Times also reports the men were not allowed to hold onto their passports in spite of promises to the contrary.
"By any measure it's a very ambitious undertaking," said New York Times reporter Ariel Kaminer. "One of the ambitions is to complete a massive construction project in a manner consistent with American labor values but another challenge is to maintain a university in a manner consistent with American academic values which, like workers rights, are not otherwise a part of the host country's own tradition."
Kaminer added NYU officials responded by noting that individual construction workers are contractors and not employees of the university.