Workers Claim Abandonment By Staffing Company

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COLUMBIA - Laborers from Atlanta, Georgia said Monday they were stranded in Columbia by a staffing agency and Aspen Heights, a construction company. The laborers said they responded to an advertisement posted on Craigslist that stated a staffing agency wanted to hire 50 people for framing and general labor work in Columbia.

The ad stated that laborers would be reimbursed for travel expenses and would receive pay for lodging and food. But the workers said they have not received anything since their arrival in Columbia. Eleven remain in Columbia without enough resources to go home.

"When we found out what was going on it seemed like everybody put money in they pocket and ran off and abandoned everybody out here. It's eleven of us out here, we don't even have a way back to Atlanta. We don't know where we're going to sleep at, we don't know anything. People are really upset out here, people's families are upset," said Barceneas Cosby. 

The workers said they stopped working after two days without money or food. One worker said when he tried to reach the supervisor of the staffing agency, the agency claimed to have no knowledge of the situation.

When KOMU 8 News went to the construction site, the supervisor first agreed to talk with a reporter, but then went inside the main office and did not come back out.

Later, Aspen Heights contacted KOMU 8 News with this statement:

"This particular issue is between a subcontractor and its employees. Now that this has been brought to the attention of Aspen Heights; we are working closely with all subcontractors to make sure contractual obligations are met. The Aspen Heights Columbia project is currently in good standing with all lenders and subcontractors involved."

The workers said the staffing company doing the hiring was Everything Staffing in Marietta, Georgia, but KOMU 8 News has been unable to reach the company or verify that it was the one that placed the ad.

The laborers said that although they feel wronged by the construction company and staffing agency, they just want money to get back home to their families.