MALDEN, MA — A contractor awarded a public construction project by the Malden Housing Authority did not pay its employees fair wages, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. Machados Construction Services Inc. was one of three construction companies cited a total of $636,796 for prevailing wage and records violations.
The AG issued five citations totaling $398,913 against Machados and its manager, Leandro Machado, two citations totaling $217,738 against Real Construction Inc. and its president, Elismar J. Custodio and five citations totaling $20,145 against WF North Lion Inc. and Wirley M. De Freitas.
The penalties stemmed from a construction project in Sutton, but investigators also found that Machados failed to pay employees the prevailing wage on another project in Malden, the AG’s office said.
“Companies that try to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying workers will be held accountable,” Healey said in a statement. “Prevailing wage laws are in place to ensure there is a level playing field for those who work on our public projects.”
The AG’s office began investigating the companies after receiving a referral from the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, which alleged that construction workers on the police station project in Sutton were paid $15-$20 per hour, well under the state-mandated prevailing wage of $68.72 per hour.
The companies’ payroll showed employees were regularly underpaid on the Sutton project, and in the case of Machados, on a project in Malden as well, the AG’s office said.
The attorney general enforces laws that regulate the payment of wages, including prevailing wage laws that apply to certain public construction projects and public works to ensure quality workmanship and fairness in the awarding of public contracts.
The law imposes a special minimum wage and requires contractors and subcontractors working on public works construction projects to submit weekly true and accurate certified payroll records to the authority that awards the contractors the public construction projects.
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.