Fifteen workers will receive more than $100,000 in back pay from a firm testing and treating utility poles in Grant and Franklin counties.
The payment is part of a settlement with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Intec Services Inc. The Fort Collins, Colo., company paid workers below the prevailing wage as part of public works contracts, according to agency notices of violation that Intec appealed.
Under the settlement reached in late May, Intec will be allowed to move ahead with a Seattle City Light contract. The firm will test and treat some 65,900 wood utility poles, and treat an additional 15,900 wood poles under a six-year, $6.27 million contract.
“We want to make sure that workers receive the pay they’re entitled to for the work they do on public projects,” said L&I’s Jim Christensen, Prevailing Wage Program manager. “The settlement provides these workers with the wages owed to them under the law and allows the company to proceed with work on a large contract with a better understanding of prevailing wage.”
The state’s prevailing wage act protects workers on taxpayer-funded projects by assuring they’re paid at specific rates for specific types of work.
L&I works to ensure all employers comply with the prevailing wage law and have a level playing field in obtaining public contracts, Christensen said. Under the settlement, Intec does not admit to any wrongdoing on how it classified and paid its employees.
In October and November 2014, L&I issued Intec separate notices of violation for utility pole work the company did for the public utility districts in Franklin and Grant counties. For the Franklin County PUD, Intec will pay nine workers $15,990.80 in wages owed for work done under a 2011 contract. For the Grant County PUD, Intec will pay $92,017.25 to six workers for work in 2011 and ’12.
Intec paid workers as “laborers,” a lower pay level than the correct “power line construction electrician” and “groundperson” wages. The settlement includes an agreement that clarifies how Intec will structure its crews in compliance with state prevailing wage law for its contract with Seattle City Light.
The agreement calls for Intec to use a crew of up to four workers with its Seattle City Light contract. The crew would include a working supervisor, paid wages of a journeyman power line construction electrician. Assistants will be paid groundperson wages under the same job heading.