Stop worker exploitation at the University of Houston

Sign this petition to tell Renu Khator, University of Houston President, to make sure this does not happen again on all constructions sites at the University of Houston.

Since October of 2019, students, faculty, unions, community members and workers have joined forces to fight for justice and dignity for nine workers who filed wage claims that happened at the University of Houston at the Quadrangle Housing Replacement Project.

We are happy to say that the 9 workers who filed a claim, had their claim "settled" thanks to the organizing efforts from everyone who decided to take action against the corporate greed of the construction industry.


Dozens of other workers, at the Quadrangle Housing Replacement Project, were inspired by this movement and decided to take action as well.


Sign this petition to tell Renu Khator, University of Houston President, to make sure this does not happen again on all constructions sites at the University of Houston.

Petition by
Chele Iglesias
Houston, Texas

To: Sign this petition to tell Renu Khator, University of Houston President, to make sure this does not happen again on all constructions sites at the University of Houston.
From: [Your Name]

Dear Renu Khator, University of Houston President

The University of Houston has the power and responsibility to stop worker exploitation on its construction sites—the time to do so is NOW!

The construction industry, especially in Texas, is overrun with wage theft and unsafe working conditions. In this state, a staggering twenty percent of construction workers have had their wages stolen. And in 2017, a Texas worker died on the job every 16 hours (Texas Observer), rates that outpaced homicide deaths in major cities like Houston.

As a large-scale developer, the University of Houston has both the power and responsibility to stop worker exploitation on its campuses. UH Facilities is currently overseeing the construction of at least seven major projects that together total over $328 million. This does not account for future projects like the new law school building that is alone earmarked at $78 million. Construction at this scale requires thousands of workers, who are now being asked to labor during a pandemic. Sadly, the University lacks an oversight system commensurate to this scale and challenge.

Our campaign to enforce workers’ rights at the Quadrangle Replacement Project exposed the University’s ineffective safeguards for protecting workers. Only after six months of fierce community organizing, pressure from politicians, and a formal complaint, a small group of workers were able to reach a resolution over wages with their employer. We have maintained, however, that many more workers on the Quadrangle Project were similarly denied their rights to prevailing wages and overtime. The University’s complaint-driven and hands off approach to oversight shifts the burden of identifying labor abuses from the University to its contractors and their workers. The contractors have a clear conflict of interest as worker exploitation results in higher profits, and workers are faced with the fear of being retaliated against if they dare to speak out.

To build an oversight system that protects workers from wage theft and unsafe working conditions, we demand that the University do the following:

1. Ensure that all workers engaged in the construction of the Quadrangle Replacement Project were paid what they are owed.

2. Create a proactive oversight system, which includes independent worksite monitors, to ensure that contractors on future UH construction sites comply with the law and protect the health and safety of their workers.

3. Adopt emergency measures and multilingual reporting procedures to protect all workers on UH campuses from the spread of COVID19.

4. Meet with students, workers, and their representatives to discuss the above mentioned demands and institutionalize community involvement in worker protections.

Not every worker will be able to bear the risk of losing their job by reporting worksite violations. Not every worker can count on community and institutional support. But we all benefit when workers are protected from wage theft and unnecessary harm, especially during a pandemic.

We shall overcome,