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Plea reached in first-ever common construction wage prosecution

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The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has reached a plea agreement in a common construction wage violation involving an Indianapolis contractor, believed to be the first prosecution of this kind in Indiana.

White River Mechanical Inc. worked as a subcontractor on two Indianapolis Public School projects. A grand jury investigation in March 2011 showed that several employees of White River Mechanical were underpaid for work on the public school projects. The company incorrectly listed skill levels and pay rates on company payroll records and misrepresented the status of employees on required reporting to IPS.  

What used to be known as the prevailing wage law, Indiana Code 5-16-7, the Common Construction Wage Act requires any entity awarded a contract for public work – and any subcontractor of the construction – to pay no less than the predetermined common wage rate as set by a committee in each county. Employees are divided into three classes – unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled.  A contractor or subcontractor who knowingly fails to pay the rate of wages commits a Class B misdemeanor. Changes were made to the law during the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly that went into effect July 1.

As part of the plea agreement, White River Mechanical will pay a $1,000 fine and submit to an audit by the Indiana Department of Labor to determine the amount it owes to current and former employees. The prosecutor’s office estimated that the amount of unpaid wages and benefits is more than $50,000.

“Today we are sending a message that we will abide by and enforce the Common Wage law in Marion County,” said Prosecutor Terry Curry.  “Contractors who undercut the Common Wage law are taking advantage of their employees, their peers, and the public by not paying their workers the amount that is required and set by law.  At the same time, they are competing unfairly against those companies who play by the rules and pay their employees the correct and fair wage they are owed.”

The Indiana Department of Labor reported that this is the first time this kind of violation has been prosecuted in Indiana.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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