News | Communication Services, 360-902-5400 - PublicAffairs@Lni.wa.gov

L&I cites company for shorting workers more than $155,000 on senior center

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August 22, 2017 #17-030

Tumwater – Six construction workers were shorted more than $155,000 in wages for work on a Belfair senior center, according to a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation.

The workers are owed about $25,000 each for wood framing at the Belfair HUB Senior Center. Their employer, Integrity Construction LLC, was on the project from May to August 2015. L&I recently notified the company of the violation.

"Integrity vastly underpaid its employees for the work they did," said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director for L&I's Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards division. "By making sure contractors pay their workers fairly, we are creating a level playing field for firms in the construction industry."

L&I's investigation found the Tacoma company owes $156,692.48 in wages and more than $30,000 in fines and penalties. Integrity did not appeal the violation and is barred from bidding on future public works projects until the money is paid.

The Belfair project received $1.86 million from the state's capital budget. That meant Integrity was required to follow the state's prevailing wage law. L&I enforces the law, which protects workers by setting the wages for specific work.

Because the project owner was a non-profit and not a public agency, the organization was not required to post a performance bond or hold money aside until the project was completed, called retainage, for situations like this.

"It's important that agencies and non-profits understand that using public money on a project means it's covered under prevailing wage," Smith said. "The law's safeguards would have assured protection for the workers' wages."

Belfair's Hospitality, Unity, and Belonging (HUB) Senior Center, valued at a reported $3.5 million, opened in May 2016. At 15,000 square feet, the structure houses a thrift store, meeting space, and kitchen. PHC Construction of Bainbridge Island was the prime contractor.

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For media information: Matthew Erlich, Public Affairs, 360-902-6508, Matthew.Erlich@Lni.wa.gov.

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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