Builder to pay 85 workers $242,301 in overtime settlement
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
- Organization: Los Angeles Times
Pablo Nunez, a carpenter by trade, says he is accustomed to working 10-hour shifts, sometimes six days a week, on home-building sites throughout Southern California. But legally mandated overtime pay was almost as unheard of at job sites, he says, as visits from labor inspectors.
"The only person getting overtime might be the brother of the foreman," Nunez said.
The Corona resident is among 85 residential construction workers from California, Nevada and Arizona who will share $242,301 in unpaid wages after settling a federal lawsuit in September against a major construction subcontractor, Building Materials Holding Corp. of Boise. The settlement was reported last week.
The lawsuit, brought with the help of the Laborers' International Union of North America, alleged that the company and its subsidiaries systematically failed to pay employees for hours worked, did not provide overtime pay or breaks, and kept workers off the clock while they traveled between job sites and waited for materials to arrive.
In June, BMHC filed for bankruptcy.
Industry officials call wage theft an aberration.
"It is essential that builders and subcontractors take care of their employees and follow employment and labor laws," said Julie Senter, a spokeswoman for the Building Industry Association of Southern California. "And we're confident the vast majority of the industry does just that."
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