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DOL: $4.8M in Prevailing Wage, Overtime Violations by I.C.E. Subcontractor

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New Jersey’s Essex County and Community Education Center Inc. (CEC) is among the largest re-entry and in-prison treatment service providers in the United States. And now it owes $4.8 million in back wages and benefits to over 100 detention officers at Delaney Hall Center in Newark.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cited the county and CEC for violating federal labor laws by failing to pay the prevailing wage and overtime:

“From Dec. 20, 2013, to May 31, 2016, [Essex County] and CEC violated the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act of 1965 by categorizing 122 detention officers improperly as operations counselors and failing to pay them the proper prevailing wage rate of $30.97 per hour required by law for that position, the investigation found,” federal officials stated in a news release. “Instead, they paid $11.29 per hour based on a prior collective bargaining agreement that was invalidated by the National Labor Relations Board in December of 2013.”

Both employers also allegedly failed to pay fringe benefits of $4.02 per hour, the required rate for detention officers, in violation of the SCA, Division of Labor officials stated. The total amount of back wages and benefits due for the SCA violations is $4,061,507.

It doesn’t stop there:

The investigation further determined that the county and CEC violated the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act when they did not pay 116 detention officers proper overtime wages. The employers owe a total of $738,492 in back wages for this alleged violation, DOL officials said.

But it wouldn’t be a true New Jersey scandal without Republican Governor Chris Christie being implicated. Via Patch:

According to the DOL, workers were employed as part of a $129 million contract between Essex County and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide detention services for immigrant detainees at Delaney Hall Center in Newark. 

In a move that was approved by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the county then subcontracted to Education and Health Centers of America (EHCA) to perform work at Delaney Hall, a controversial move as the private firm reportedly has ties to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and Gov. Chris Christie.

The subcontracting shuffle then continued when EHCA awarded a contract to CEC.

In Chris Christie’s New Jersey, one might call this “a bridge too far.”


One Comment on “DOL: $4.8M in Prevailing Wage, Overtime Violations by I.C.E. Subcontractor”

  1. I am happy these worker won their law suit against this crooks at CEC and Essex County! I hope we win our appeal too!

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