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Jan
2013
21

Unions Allege Corinthian Contractors Called ICE as Retaliation for Workers Speaking Up About Wages



Labor unions recently protested in front of the offices of the Arlington, VA based Corinthian Contractors charging that the company does not pay prevailing wages for work done on Federal contracts.

Organized labor was joined by several workers who had written the company in December complaining of underpayment ($7/hour for $10/hour work) on a pipeline project for DC Water. The Davis-Bacon Act mandates prevailing wages to be paid on federally-funded projects.

The actions of Corinthian Contractors following the letter lead to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The complaint was eventually dismissed but many protestors continue to allege that Corinthian contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as retaliation for the complaint. According to The Washington Post,

Four days later, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents appeared at 5 a.m. at the home where the workers routinely met to share rides to work. Two workers were deported and three others are appealing their arrests, said a spokeswoman for the Laborers International Union.

Corinthian’s vice president of operations Erin Teague said in a written statement Tuesday that the firm pays at or above the prevailing wage on all federal contracts and it played no role in the ICE raid, nor has it taken retaliation to have workers terminated, arrested or deported.

D.C. Water has reviewed the claim and concluded that they believe Corinthian correctly paid its workers according to prevailing wage guidelines. Spokesman Alan Heymann told WaPo,

“After that well-documented review, we concluded that Corinthian Contractors appears to be in compliance with the Davis Bacon prevailing wage requirement; is paying its workers the correct prevailing wage; and in some cases paying slightly above the prevailing rate,” he said.

But Corinthian workers claim that after the ICE raid and re-verification process nearly half the crew was fired. Arlington County Board chairman Walter Tejada joined the workers and unions to show his support. Unions plan continued action against Corinthian.

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