The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has cited the construction company that built the HUB Center for Senior Services in Belfair for shorting workers’ wages. According to an L&I investigation, six construction workers were shorted more than $155,000 in wages.
The workers are owed about $25,000 each for wood framing at the Belfair 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.