November 16, 2012 at 1:25 am
Feds win $788K in back pay for Nissan plant contractors
By David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau
Washington — The Labor Department said Thursday it recovered $787,548 in back wages for 124 employees who performed work on a federally funded project at a Nissan Motor Co. plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
The Labor Department said five contractors violated provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts as well as the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, which resulted in the workers being underpaid and not receiving fringe benefits to which they were entitled.
A spokesman for Nissan, David Reuter, said the company requires its suppliers to follow the law. "Nissan requires that all of its suppliers follow applicable state and national labor laws, including the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. When we learned that the Department of Labor was investigating these contractors, we worked with the Department to ensure our suppliers complied with the regulations," Reuter said.
Labor investigators found that Complete Automation of Lake Orion misclassified 48 employees as independent contractors and failed to include them on the company's certified payroll. As a result, employees were paid less than required prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits.
The department said Complete Automation violated another federal law when overtime compensation was paid at a lower rate to the workers because of their misclassification.
Complete Automation said on its website it has worked for a number of large companies including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Delphi Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.
The company said in a statement it works to follow the law. It notes it did not pay any penalties or fines, just the back wages.
"Complete Automation strives to comply at all times with all applicable laws and regulations as they relate to their many projects around the world. Job classifications are not always clearly defined by the DOL and therefore wage determinations are not always easy for employers to make," the company said in a statement.
The Labor Department didn't specify the project, but Nissan won $1.4 billion in Energy Department loans in 2010 to build an advanced battery manufacturing facility in Smyrna and to retool the automaker's existing Smyrna factory so it can build electric automobiles.
The company had planned to have a public grand opening on Friday, but canceled it.
The employer has paid the workers a total of $512,724 in back wages.
The department also said Jesco Inc. of Fulton, Miss., improperly classified 34 workers as plumbers rather than pipefitters, resulting in those employees receiving less than the required wages and incorrectly paying overtime compensation based on lower rates.
Jesco also required some workers to pay for lodging, which resulted in them receiving less than the prevailing wage and fringe benefits.
The company has paid the workers a total of $234,701 in back wages. T.W. Frierson Contractor Inc. of Nashville improperly classified 36 sheet metal and ironworkers as laborers and the paid the workers a total of $34,033 in back wages.
Electronics Automation Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, has paid five millwrights $5,455 in back wages and Custom Window Covering of Antioch, Tenn., has paid one employee $635 in back wages.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2...#ixzz2CQJU3KM0
Japan ever give a US company a single dime?