CA Labor Commissioner Secures $750,000 In Prevailing Wage Settlements

Los Angeles, CA (CompNewsNetwork) – In an ongoing enforcement effort of California's public works laws, the State Labor Commissioner's Office secured nearly $750,000 in wages and penalties as part of a settlement of two substantial "prevailing wage" enforcement actions in southern California and the debarment of a contractor that failed to pay prevailing wages on three public works projects.

"These settlements will send a message to both workers and the contracting community that prevailing wage violations will not be tolerated, particularly when taxpayer dollars are involved on public works projects like these," stated California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet.

In all three cases, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) charged that the public works contractors underpaid their workers in violation of the California Labor Code. 

The first case impacted a total of 119 laborers hired by VCI Telcom, Inc., to install underground utilities and conduits for the City of Rancho Mirage.  VCI Telcom alleged that this was not a public works project, subject to the payment of prevailing wages. 

The contractor claimed the charter city exemption applied, absolving them from paying prevailing wages.  DLSE countered the laborers were misclassified as lower paid workers.  Under the settlement, the 119 laborers will receive a combined total of $375,000 for unpaid wages. 

In the second case, subcontractor Unite Steel Industries, Inc. participated in the construction of a high school for the Pasadena Unified School District.  The firm employed laborers, iron workers, and a crane operator for the project and underpaid its workers.

Twenty-three workers will receive unpaid wages totaling $360,092 as a result of that settlement.  The California Apprenticeship Council will receive $6,831 as unpaid training fund contributions.

In a third action taken by the Labor Commissioner, an order was issued, officially known as a debarment, prohibiting another contractor, 1-AMD Construction, Inc., and its principals, Alberto Mordoki and Mirella Mordoki, from participating in publicly financed projects for three years, beginning March 16, 2009.  1-AMD was cited for willfully and fraudulently failing to pay the prevailing wage rates, failing to pay the correct overtime and to maintain accurate certified payroll for its employees.  Evidence was presented at the debarment hearing that the contractor coached workers to lie about their hours worked and that the wages listed on business records were greatly inflated.

The DLSE adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders.

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