Lee Hernandez is Morning Edition producer at WNYC.
Harsh Conditions for Construction Workers at NYU Abu Dhabi
Monday, May 19, 2014
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.