Vancouver company owes more than $300,000 in pay and penalties for wage violations on school projects
TUMWATER – A Vancouver, Wash., contractor owes $201,223 in wages and interest to about 20 employees on construction projects at four area schools.
360 Sheetmetal LLC and owner Beverley Martin, also owe more than $115,000 in penalties for failure to pay prevailing wage and file required reports when working on public projects.
In one case, workers were paid minimum wage, $13.50 per hour at the time, when they should have been paid $62.52 per hour for the specialized fabricated ductwork.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently filed the penalties against the company.
“This contractor failed to pay workers what they were owed under law, even after L&I notified them of the requirement,” said L&I Prevailing Wage Program Manager Jody Robbins. “The easiest way for contractors to avoid citations like this is to simply follow the law. We have lots of training and resources to help with that.”
About the case
The investigation began in 2020, following complaints from Sheet Metal Workers Union (SMART) Local 16 in Portland, Ore. The investigation included a detailed analysis of whether the work required prevailing wages, review of pay stubs, and an audit of each project.
The company didn’t respond to letters sent last fall informing them of the requirements to pay workers appropriately.
As a result of the investigation, L&I issued notices of violation on four projects, including:
- Legacy High School, Transitions, and 49th Street Academy, Evergreen School District (ESD) 114
- ES 22 Elementary School, ESD 114
- Ellsworth Elementary School, ESD 114
- MLK Jr. Elementary School replacement, Vancouver School District 37
Lack of transparency led to higher penalties
To increase accountability and ensure prevailing wages are paid on taxpayer-funded jobsites, contractors and subcontractors are required by law to file reports when working on a public project. The reports include confirmation of intent to pay prevailing wage, affidavits of wages paid, and certified payrolls.
360 Sheetmetal ignored these requirements, leading to increased penalties in each of the four cases.
Prevailing wage training and resources available from L&I include a variety of training modules, a recently revised booklet on prevailing wage law, and a revised website with specific information for contractors, workers, and other audiences.
The company has appealed the citations, which will go before the Office of Administrative Hearings at a future date.
L&I enforces the state’s prevailing wage law, which protects workers by setting wages for specific work. It covers workers on school, roads, and other types of public projects. The law also helps ensure that contractors have a level playing field when bidding on public projects.
Matthew Erlich, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6508.