Construction Workers to Receive Unpaid Wages After 6 Years

Workers Were Not Paid Pevailing Wages

2,051 construction workers, who were employed by Hensel Phelps Construction Company and 172 subcontractors, will now finally receive the wages they are owed for working on the 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel from 2006 to 2008.

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su announced that $8,072,273 in unpaid prevailing wages has been collected on behalf of the workers in the Commission’s latest sweep to hold contractors and subcontractors accountable for labor law violations in California.

The workers were responsible for almost every aspect of the project; including a wide variety of tasks ranging from foundation drilling to concrete pouring to erection of steel, and even landscaping. Christine Baker, director of the state’s Department of Industrial Relations, determined that the project was a public work because it was paid for out of public funds due to a $46.5 million rent credit provided by the Port of San Diego, which leased the land to the hotel owner.

The San Diego Superior Court issued a writ of mandate reversing the determination of Baker and finding the project was not a public work. The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District reversed the trial court and affirmed Baker’s decision.

“This office will vigorously enforce prevailing wage law to collect all of the wages owed to workers,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “Prevailing wage laws help ensure that public dollars are used to fund quality construction and good jobs that can support families in California.”

Unpaid wages exceed $8 million

A third party administrator will be paid by Hensel Phelps Construction Company to handle claims for the $8,072,273 owed to the workers. In addition, Hansel will help defray the investigation costs by paying an additional $400,000 to the Labor Commissioner.

The Labor Commissioner’s office reported that last year, more wages and penalties were assessed on public works jobs than any year since 2002.

If you feel your employer has not complied with prevailing wage laws, or has withheld wages from you, it’s important that you look into your legal options with a lawyer who can help.

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