Employees say they have worked without pay, concerned about a larger impact

KBTX News 3 at Ten EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 9:17 AM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Local employees with a company based out of San Antonio have been reaching out to KBTX saying they have worked without pay since the beginning of the year.

Water Energy Services has locations all over the Brazos Valley, including in Bryan and College Station.

Andre Howard was a local truck supervisor for the company, but that job has now shifted to helping his co-workers find work.

“The last payment we received was December 30th. The guys worked for the next two weeks as usual with the understanding; we will be paid on that next payday. That didn’t happen. We got text messages and emails from that point on that there were issues with the funds and that we would have to wait on the payroll,” Howard said, but that next paycheck never arrived.

According to their website, Water Energy Services transports and treats wastewater to provide clean water to customers like Chevron and Shell. They have over three dozen locations across Texas and New Mexico.

It is unclear if this payment issue is impacting all their locations or just a few.

Howard says when his colleagues realized they were working for free, they decided to stop showing up.

“Everybody just kind of pulled the plug on it. January 20th was the last day of operations for all the employees. We all worked that day, and they sent us a text message later that day saying that they did not have any funds and that we would not be paid and we would have to wait till they receive funds to be paid,” Howard said.

Howard says now many employees are struggling, and the lack of answers isn’t helping.

“There was no transparency. They’re still saying that we’re still in business, we’re still working. There’s nothing there that gave employees an indication that we were in trouble, we were making money and so basically the company let us down,” he said.

Many of those employees are struggling after weeks of work without pay, and now some with no job.

“I got one employee, his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. I have two other ones that just recently bought new homes and new cars and they can’t make any of those payments,” Howard said.

Howard says luckily, some local competitors have begun hiring those Water Energy Services employees.

KBTX reached out to Water Energy Services regarding these issues and has not heard back.