$8 million settlement for Hilton Bayfront construction workers

More than 2,000 workers who built the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel will split $8 million owed to them in a prevailing wage case, the state's Labor Commission announced Monday.

The money is the difference between what the employees of the hotel
contractor, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., and 172 subcontractors were paid
while building the hotel from 2006 to 2008, and what they should have earned
under prevailing wage laws, according to the commission.

A state appellate court in 2011 upheld a decision by the director of the
state Department of Industrial Relations that construction of the hotel was a
public project since the Port of San Diego, which leases the land to the hotel,
provided $46.5 million in rent credits. That would have made the employers
subject to laws that set pay scales on public projects.

The contractor has since negotiated a settlement with the state and paid
the $8 million due, according to the commission. The company will also pay
$400,000 to the Labor Commission to reimburse investigative costs.

“This office will vigorously enforce prevailing wage law to collect all
of the wages owed to workers,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.
“Prevailing wage laws help ensure that public dollars are used to fund quality
construction and good jobs that can support families in California.”

The Labor Commissioner's office reported that last year, more wages and
penalties were assessed on public works jobs than any year since 2002.

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