By Chris May
WOODBURY, N.J. (CBS) — Finding a job is tough enough. Imagine finally getting that job, working for weeks, but not getting paid. That’s what happened to a New Jersey man and many others all over the country. One of them emailed 3 On Your Side, and we started digging to find out what was going on.
Dave Berardy of Woodbury has been looking for steady work for two years. He answered an ad on Craigslist from a temporary staffing agency called Sentury Staffing out of North Carolina.
“So everything seemed kind of on the up and up,” said CBS 3’s Chris May.
“Yes, yes,” said Dave.
The temp agency told Dave to report to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Mickleton, NJ. The job was machine operator, $13.50 an hour.
Saint-Gobain is a manufacturer of construction materials employing nearly 200,000 people in 64 countries. Dave worked the night shift making plastic tubing.
“There was no issue with the work you were performing,” said CBS 3’s Chris May.
“Right,” said Dave Berardy.
“The only issue was?” asked May.
“No pay,” said Dave.
No pay after working for more than three weeks. So Dave quit, still owed $1900. He says he asked his managers for help.
“Did they seem to care at all about the fact that you weren’t being paid for the work you had provided for them?” asked CBS 3’s Chris May.
“Nope,” said Dave. “They told me it was between me and the temp agency.”
Saint-Gobain actually outsources temp management to another company, SourceRight Solutions. That company hired Sentury Staffing, which hired Dave. He should have been paid by Sentury, but he wasn’t.
“Somebody is paying them, and I’d like to know what they’re doing with their money,” said Dave.
“I can only work so long for free,” said Terry Lee Upton Of Kentucky, another Saint-Gobain temp who didn’t get paid by Sentury. There are 17 that we know of across the country.
Terry was owed $1500. When he complained, he says he received an email from Sentury’s president, saying in part: “God is in charge, and he knows exactly what is going on, not you […] as of today, you should quit.”
CBS 3 has learned that Sentury’s president, Michelle Brown, filed for bankruptcy in December. Court documents say she owes thousands on student loans, a car loan, and more than $45,000 to a business finance company.
“The best I can say about it is, she just didn’t wanna pay,” said Terry. “Unless she was using the funds for something else, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter was already broke.”
“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said Cathy Ferrante, Saint-Gobain vice president of human resources. “We felt that they did a fair day’s work for us and we wanted to make sure they got their full wages.”
Saint-Gobain says they had already paid Sentury for the temps and were investigating. But they decided to pay again, this time directly to all the workers. Dave received his check and a note of apology.
“You guys aren’t kidding when you say CBS 3 is on your side,” said Dave.
SourceRight says it had forwarded all the funds to Sentury Staffing and is investigating what happened.
When reached last week, the president of Sentury told CBS 3 “no comment” and to talk to her lawyer. When we asked who her lawyer was, the line disconnected. She hasn’t responded to our emails or phone calls since.