WORCESTER, Mass.—A federal court has ordered a New Jersey construction company to pay almost $200,000 in back pay and penalties for cheating 50 nonunion workers out of pay. The order came after the U.S. Department of Labor found that P&B Partitions had not given overtime pay to carpenters, drywall hangers, and others who’d worked on two luxury apartment buildings from 2016 to 2018. It instead paid them straight-time rates in cash. That investigation was triggered by Carpenters Local 336’s campaign to organize nonunion workers on the buildings, which are part of the publicly subsidized redevelopment of the City Square area downtown. “What started as five carpenters grew to a group of 12 signed complaints,” Local 336 said in a statement. “All of the wage theft victims were people of color, primarily Latino.” The court ordered P&B to pay more than $158,000 in back wages and damages, along with a $33,880 fine. “This is very good news for these workers, but it is also another loud warning bell for our city,” Local 336 business manager David Minasian told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “The wage theft business model perpetuates itself because it is profitable.” Read more


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