BURLINGTON, Vt., June 3 - Paychecks are being issued this week to some 700 Vermont workers who won $2.9 million in back wages in a dispute with government contractors at the Vermont Service Center in St. Albans and Essex Junction.
About 700 workers employed by Stanley Inc. and its subcontractors are to receive checks by June 6 for their share of the back pay. The checks average about $4,000, but vary depending on how long workers were on the payroll and other factors.
The $2.9 million is the third round of back-pay awards involving government contractors at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Another $3 million went to about 500 workers in two other settlements in 2009.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) first requested the U.S. Labor Department investigation of the underpayments in 2007 after new contractors at the center docked pay for longtime workers and gave some employees new titles for the same jobs.
Sanders said the investigation lasted longer than it should have taken, but he called the result "another important victory for the Vermont Service Center workers who are finally receiving the back pay and other benefits that they are owed. I'm glad that justice finally has been done."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) also supported the Vermont workers at the center which processes passports and other paperwork for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Labor Department investigation was opened four years ago after Stanley, Northrop Grumman and the Federal Working Group won federal government contracts. The latest ruling and the 2009 settlements all involved serious violations of the Service Contract Act.
In the earlier cases, more than 500 Vermont Service Center workers employed by SI International and CSC from November of 2005 to December of 2007 were awarded more than $3 million in back wages.