State officials are investigating labor law violations committed by contractors at a construction site in Ewing and have ordered work on the site stopped.
Officials from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Thursday issued stop-work orders to three contractors working on the construction site of a warehouse at 380 Scotch Road. The 195,000 square foot industrial building under construction on the site will serve as a new warehouse for several state agencies. The warehouse project is managed by general contractor WARFEL based in Pennsylvania. The Wages and Hours Compliance Division of the Ministry of Labor conducted an audit and investigation of the three contractors after receiving a complaint.
Subcontractors who received stop work orders included Latz, Inc., of Tenafly for non-payment of current wages, Westwood Construction of NJ LLC of Millstone Township for non-payment of current wages, and Benchmark Site. Development LLC of Norristown, Pennsylvania. for failure to take out workers’ compensation insurance. Latz and Benchmark were also cited for tendering and performing public works without registering with the state as a public works contractor. Under state law, contractors must pay workers a prevailing wage for publicly funded projects.
“Public procurement is a privilege, not a right. We make sure that no taxpayer money is used to exploit workers, ”said Joseph Petrecca, deputy commissioner of the Wages and Hours Compliance Division.
As of July 2019, NJDOL has the power to require an employer to cease trading activities when significant violations of wages, benefits or other workers’ rights are documented. The tool was used to shut down specific job sites and, in one case, to order the shutdown of all of a contractor’s current workplaces statewide. Entrepreneurs have the right to appeal orders and challenge the action at a hearing.
State officials continue to investigate other contractors working on the Ewing warehouse project.