L&I investigation results in $66,500 in back pay for 28 workers

August 19, 2016
For media information: Matthew Erlich, Public Affairs, Matthew.Erlich@lni.wa.gov, 360-902-6508.


Tumwater – A state investigation into a company that closed before paying employees everything they were owed on two public projects has resulted in 28 workers receiving more than $66,500 in back pay.

Eltech Electric Inc. of Seattle abruptly ceased work on the projects at the end of September 2015. Complaints filed with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries led to an investigation that cleared the way for the workers to be paid.

The workers were involved in two public projects: construction of the Green River Community College student life center in Auburn, and repair work on the state ferry M/V Kaleetan.

The 65,000-square-foot Mel Lindbloom Student Union building opened in February. Prime contractor Walsh Construction required its subcontractors, including Eltech Electric, to have a bond. L&I was able to get money from that bond for the workers who were not fully paid when Eltech closed unexpectedly.

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Walsh: Dialogue needed on public project wages


March 23, 2015

By: Jack Encarnacao


Mayor Martin J. Walsh said raising the wages of union laborers who work on public projects should be part of the national dialogue on income inequality during a panel discussion with the mayors of New York, Baltimore and Seattle.

Walsh praised the Legislature for boosting the state minimum wage to $11 by 2017 before mentioning the “prevailing wage law,” which pays Boston tradesman in the range of $30 to $50 an hour to work on public projects.

“I think we have to look at the prevailing wage law as well to make sure that we give people the opportunity to … have a living wage,” Walsh said during the “Municipal Strategies for Financial Empowerment” public forum at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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Contractors Allegedly Paid Workers Below Prevailing Wage, Labor Brokers Demanded Kickbacks On NYC School And Housing Construction Projects


(New York, NY) Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters announced today the arrests and indictments of a contractor and two labor brokers overseeing New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) and Housing Authority (NYCHA) projects for allegedly underpaying construction workers. The arrests stem from a joint investigation into underpayment and kickback schemes on projects at P.S. 196K, a public school in Brooklyn, and the Pomonok Houses Project in Queens. As alleged in two indictments, several workers were deprived of several thousand dollars each from the alleged schemes. If convicted on the top counts, each defendant faces up to seven years in prison.

“Contractors who work on public projects cannot ignore New York State’s labor laws in order to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “In this case and many others, my office is taking aggressive action, including criminal prosecution when appropriate, to ensure that workers are paid the wages they’ve earned.”

“Not only does prevailing wage fraud deprive honest workers of fair pay, but it is a gateway to other schemes that endanger public safety. Exposing and putting an end to prevailing wage fraud is a cornerstone of DOI’s multi-pronged effort to combat corruption in New York City construction. I thank the Attorney General and his staff for their partnership on these important cases,” New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said.

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Targeted worker misclassification law takes effect in Texas

Construction companies across Texas that work on public projects are on notice now that the targeted worker misclassification crackdown passed by the legislature in 2013 has taken effect.

HB 2015 “Worker Classification” was signed into law on June 14, 2013, and became effective on January 1, 2014.  This law is considered by many to be a good first step in the fight against the problem that is especially rampant in residential and commercial construction.  But, advocates for workers and for a fair marketplace understand that much more needs to be done in the years to come if the playing field is going to be leveled so that ethical companies will be able to compete.  While putting these penalties in place on public projects will help in the commercial sector, nothing at all will change in residential construction.

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