By Jeanette DeForge | December 17, 2019
CHICOPEE – The president of a city construction company has been cited for underpaying 59 of his carpenters a total of $369,628 over a 2½-year period.
Pilgrim Interiors Inc. and its president Richard Bernard Jr. was issued three citations that total nearly $1 million in restitution and penalties, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Tuesday.
The company, located on 16 Ames Ave., subcontracts interior commercial jobs for metal framing, drywall, drywall finishing and plaster installation. As part of the work, it also installs insulation and whatever the customer orders.
The Attorney General’s Office began looking into information about a possible nonpayment of prevailing wage while the company worked on construction projects. Investigators determined the company had been misclassifying its carpenters as laborers on dozens of public projects between Dec. 2016 and May 2019. Depending on the project, the difference in hourly prevailing wage between a laborer and a carpenter was between $6.19 and $15.18, Healey said in a written statement.
Company officials also violated the prevailing wage law by taking credit against the prevailing wage hourly rate for fringe benefit contributions that were never made, the statement said.
Healey has working to combat wage theft in the construction industry. In this fiscal year, the office’s Fair Labor Division issued citations against 209 construction employers and assessed nearly $3.1 million in restitution and penalties.
Workers who believe their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/wagetheft. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the Office’s Fair Labor Hotline at 617- 727-3465 or go to the AG’s workplace rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
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