Project managers overseeing construction of Nashville’s new convention center say they’re taking additional steps to ensure that all workers on the 16-acre site have appropriate documentation.
The new measures come less than a week after state. Rep. Mike Turner filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Labor alleging that the project’s contractor, Bell/Clark Construction, has used illegal immigrants on the work site.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Mayor Karl Dean, the nine-member Convention Center Authority and others, Larry Atema, project manager of the $585 million Music City Center, said all Bell/Clark subcontractors must now read, sign and return letters attesting to the legal documentation of all their employees. It’s essentially a pledge that subcontractors must turn in by Friday.
“We certify that we are not knowingly employing any employees on the Music City Center project who are not authorized to work in the United States, to our knowledge, information and belief,” reads one phrase in the letter subcontractors are required to sign.
Atema also said Bell/Clark is now requiring all subcontractors to hold mandatory training sessions on immigration compliance and verification processes.
Already, the contracts Bell/Clark signs with subcontractors prohibit companies from “knowingly” using the services of illegal immigrants. “Any violation of this requirement will constitute breach of contract and may result in cancellation of the contract,” contracts read.
Convention Center Authority spokeswoman Holly McCall said there have been no illegal immigrants discovered working on the site.
“It’s not an acknowledgement that there’s any issue or that we even suspect there’s any issue,” McCall said of the new steps. “There’s already contract language. And, frankly, even if there wasn’t contract language, it’s the law. The guys at Clark –– and we agree ––wanted to push down to make sure the subcontractors completely understand the importance of this.”