Reporter- Boston Business Journal
A commercial cleaning, maintenance and janitorial company from East Boston has been ordered to pay more than $750,000 in restitution and penalties for deducting money from workers’ paychecks without making any contributions to health, welfare and pension funds, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday.
The deductions violate the state’s prevailing wage laws, the AG’s office said in a press release.
SEIU Local 615 filed a complaint with the AG’s office in 2011 against Star Services Inc., a subcontractor of ABM Janitorial Services, which has the contract to clean facilities in Boston that are operated by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the press release said. The union noted in its complaint that Star Services’ workers were seeing deductions from their paychecks but contributions were not being made to any funds, the AG’s office said.
Massachusetts law allows for deductions for health, welfare and pension funds from the paychecks of workers who clean and maintain buildings that the state owns or rents, the AG’s office said. But if payments to the funds are not made, workers are supposed to receive those payments directly, according to the AG’s office.
The AG’s office determined that between March 2012 and September 2013, Star Services deducted more than $959,000 from 160 workers for health, welfare and pension fund contributions that were never made.
ABM has terminated the contract with Star Services and has agreed to pay $300,000 to the Star Services employees and the pension fund. Star Services couldn’t be reached for comment. ABM issued this statement: “We cannot speak to Star’s actions, but we can say that we terminated the relationship with them after learning of the situation and we are pleased to have worked with the Attorney General’s office toward resolving this issue, using funds withheld from Star pursuant to our agreement.”
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