October 2, 2014
Bellingham – A contractor renovating the Whatcom County Jail has paid nearly $200,000 in back wages owed to 13 workers on the project.
Sierra Detention Systems, of Brighton, Colo., paid the money following a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries investigation, which was spurred by a January worker complaint. The company paid lower apprenticeship wages to electricians.
“We don’t know whether the company’s intent was to avoid paying the higher journeyman wage,” said Jim Christensen, Prevailing Wage Program manager for the agency, who noted this was a first-time offense for the firm. “In this case, the employees were doing the work of electricians and were not part of any state-registered apprenticeship program.”