500 Vermont Service Center Employees Now Due $3 Million
WASHINGTON, October 8 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today welcomed a U.S. Labor Department ruling that will result in an additional $1.45 million in back wages for federal contract workers in St. Albans and Essex Junction.
The ruling affects 237 contract workers employed by CSC at the Vermont Service Center of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from November of 2005 to December of 2007.
Today’s settlement comes on the heels of last week’s labor victory involving more than $1.5 million in back wages to 272 Vermont Service Center workers employed by SI International during the same time period.
Altogether, more than 500 workers will receive more than $3 million in back wages as a result of the two settlements.
The settlements involving violations of the Service Contract Act are the largest in the United States in at least a decade. Additionally, the Labor Department still is investigating possible labor law violations by current contractors at the Vermont Service Center (Stanley, Northrop Grumman and the Federal Working Group) that took over on December 3, 2007 and cut workers’ pay.
Sanders said, “This settlement is another important victory for the Vermont Service Center workers who are finally beginning to receive the back pay and other benefits that they are owed. The workers were denied the wages that they were legally entitled to receive. While the process has taken longer than I had wished, I’m glad that justice finally is being done.
“Now that these two settlements have been reached, my hope is that the Labor Department will expedite its investigation of the current contractors. I will do everything I can to actively pursue a fair resolution so all workers get what they are owed,” Sanders added.
CSC agreed to pay the more than $1.44 million in back wages by October 31, 2009.
Vermont Service Center employees who worked for CSC or SI International may find out how much they will receive in back pay as a result of the settlements by calling the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Manchester, New Hampshire at (603) 666-7716. Former employees who have moved also should call to give the Department of Labor their current address.
Sanders first raised concern about the underpayments in 2007, when he asked the Labor Department to investigate potential violations of the law at the Vermont Service Center. The following year Sanders met with Labor Department officials to press the case that the Vermont Service Center workers should receive what they are legally entitled to receive.
Earlier this year, Sanders met with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and urged her to complete the investigations as soon as possible.
Last April, Sanders hosted a town meeting with the Vermont Service Center workers to discuss this issue and several other issues. The senator has scheduled a meeting to discuss the settlements with workers at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the auditorium at St. Albans City Hall.