California Labor Commissioner Reaches Settlements Totaling over $600,000 with Four General Contractors on Public Works Jobs in Northern California

Apr 25, 2013, 11:32 ET from California Department of Industrial Relations, California Labor Commissioner

SAN FRANCISCO, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su obtained settlements of $610,186 in wage assessments and penalties with four general contractors on four different public works jobs.  The settlements were for civil wage and penalty assessments based on failure to pay 31 workers prevailing wages and related labor law violations.

"Construction contractors are on notice that the Labor Commissioner has reinvigorated and focused her public works enforcement efforts to provide a fair and level playing field for those businesses who comply with public works requirements," stated Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Labor Commissioner's office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), is a division of DIR. 

"Wage theft on public works projects in California not only cheats workers of their hard-earned wages, it is a violation of the public trust," said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.  "These cases send a message to general contractors that they should make sure they are working with legitimate contractors who abide by the law, and my office will do everything in our power to recover unpaid wages."

San Leandro drywall and carpentry subcontractor Joseph Brothers, Inc. was hired by three general contractors to perform drywall and related construction on three public works projects: a sanitary sewer in Martinez for the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, a low income apartment housing project on Addison Street in Berkeley and the Twin Cities police station in Corte Madera.  The general contractors, who were held jointly liable for Joseph Brothers' wage violations including use of insufficient funds checks, paid a combined $310,686 in wages and penalties as a result of the violations.  The general contractors include Bobo Construction of Elk Grove who will pay $225,000 in wages and penalties; Midstate Construction of Petaluma who will pay $31,437; and Jeff Luchetti Construction of Larkspur who will pay $54,249

All 28 of Joseph Brothers' workers will recover the full value of their earned prevailing wages with these settlements.  In addition, judgments have been filed against Joseph Brothers in the amount of $37,650 for the remaining penalties that have not been paid. 

The Labor Commissioner reached another settlement with NBC General Contractors Corporation after finding wage violations committed while completing their work at the Oakland library branch on 81st Street.  The Labor Commissioner's investigation found three carpentry workers who were not paid for all hours worked and who were forced to pay kickbacks on every paycheck to their employer, NBC General Contractors Corporation.  The settlement with NBC General was for $299,500 in wages and interest for the three workers.  Monica Ung, President of NBC General, pleaded guilty in Alameda Superior Court in April 2011 for felony kickbacks of wages and insurance premium charges brought forth by the Alameda District Attorney's office. 

"In 2012, my Public Works team assessed $25 million in wages and civil penalties, the highest amount in a decade," said Labor Commissioner Su.  "We are going to make sure that those who break the law pay and those who comply with prevailing wage laws know that the State is on their side."

The Labor Commissioner's office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints and enforces state labor law. Additional information on labor laws and work-related topics are available on our website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.          

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers' Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work related topics.

For media inquiries contact Erika Monterroza at (510) 286-1164 or Peter Melton at (510) 286-7046.

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations, California Labor Commissioner