Rochester company cited for wage violations in Mattapoisett project
A Rochester company and its owners have been cited more than $1.2 million in restitution and penalties over allegations that they did not pay prevailing wages to employees on various public projects, including for the Town of Mattapoisett, Attorney General Maura Healey has announced.
Rochester Bituminous Products, Inc., its president, Thomas Russo, manager, Albert Todesca, and treasurer, Michael P. Todesca, were issued 25 citations by the AG’s Office for failing to pay prevailing wages to employees on various public projects, including projects for the City of Boston and the Boston Water & Sewer Commission, failure to furnish true and accurate payroll records to the AG’s Office, and failure to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to an awarding authority on a weekly basis for work performed.
Prevailing wage is the wage that must be paid to anyone employed on a public works project, whether the worker is employed by the general contractor, a filed sub-bidder, or any sub-contractor. The prevailing wage laws apply to both union and non-union employers/employees.
Rochester Bituminous Products were under contracts for roadway maintenance and paving with the Town of Mattapoisett, the attorney general’s office reported. They worked on a number of streets, including Acushnet Road, Tinkham Lane, Aucoot Road, Hollywood Road, Barstow Street, Cannon Street and Pearl Street.
Through the citations, the AG’s Office is seeking penalties from Rochester Bituminous for its violations of state labor laws, and restitution for 22 employees it allegedly harmed.
A person who answered the phone at Rochester Bituminous Products said the company had no comment about the charges.
“Companies have an obligation to pay their workers the wages they’ve earned,” Healey said. “We are issuing these citations to secure relief for workers who were cheated by this company’s illegal practices.”
In 2019, the AG’s Fair Labor Division began investigating whether Rochester Bituminous was paying its workers the proper prevailing wage for paving work done for the City of Boston. The division also received several complaints from past and present workers of the company, alleging that they had not been paid prevailing wages for work performed.
As part of its investigation, the AG’s Office issued payroll demands to Rochester Bituminous, requesting the company produce certified payroll and timekeeping records. A request was also made to turn over certified payroll records, submitted by Rochester Bituminous to several awarding authorities such as the City of Boston, Town of Mattapoisett, and the Boston Water & Sewer Commission, all of whom Rochester Bituminous performed work for.
On numerous occasions, Rochester Bituminous failed to furnish the records requested by the AG’s Office, or produced records that had missing documents, were incomplete or contained errors or omissions.
Massachusetts labor laws require contractors and subcontractors working on public works construction projects to submit true and accurate certified payroll records to the awarding authority on a weekly basis, and these records must contain the employees’ identities, hourly rates of pay, job classification for work performed, and information about the wages paid. Employers must also furnish those records to the AG’s Office upon demand.
Failure to submit such records, or submitting records that lack this information, is considered a violation of state law.
Despite the missing documentation, investigators were able to determine that 22 workers were underpaid by approximately $30 per hour for work performed on public works projects and were owed restitution. Under state laws, employers that engage in public projects must pay their employees prevailing wages which is a special minimum wage rate.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor.
For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Amy Goyer and Supervising Investigator Greg Reutlinger, both of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.