Thursday, August 20, 2009

OCA East Bay Supports Immigrant Workers Exploited by NBC Contractors Corporation of Oakland

IBEW 595, 6250 Village Parkway, Dublin CA 94568


Contact: Bonnie Jean von Krogh, 415-336-6176


Call for NBC Contractors to be held to accountable to the law

HAYWARD, CA – July 20th, 2009

Local elected officials, wronged workers and community members attended a rally condemning the alleged criminal acts of NBC Contractors and owner Monica Ung, as Ung formally faced criminal charges on Monday, including 48 felony counts involving wage theft, insurance fraud and perjury at the Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward.

Former NBC worker and lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit Ricky Lau described how NBC Contractors forced employees to work 60-72 hour weeks but paid them for only 10-40 hour weeks, cheating workers out of $3.6 million in unpaid wages, for work that was performed.

“NBC intimidated workers, forcing us to sign false times cards,” said Lau. “We could not receive our paychecks unless we signed time cards that reduced our hours by as much as 85%. We are just asking to be paid for the hours we worked.”

“All workers have a right to work in an environment free of intimidation and to get paid for work that was done,” said TC Williams of the Alameda Central Labor Council. “The allegations against NBC Contractors suggest a work environment in which the rights of workers were routinely ignored and denied. This type of conduct is unacceptable for any business but is particularly troubling since NBC worked on public projects and took public funds.”

Almost 100 community members and workers came to show their support for NBC workers and stand in solidarity with them.

The complaint against NBC Contractors also includes felony insurance fraud charges, accusing Ung of cheating California taxpayers out of as much as $1.5 million in workers compensation and unemployment insurance taxes.

“In today’s tough economy, the State of California, our schools, cities and citizens are struggling,” said Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillen. “This is money that is absolutely essential to funding important services such as public safety, street and road repair, and schools to the public. We cannot stand by while crooked contractors steal millions from workers and the people of California through fraud.”
Other East Bay elected officials questioned why NBC Contractors is still employed on a number of public, taxpayer-funded, public-works projects in the Bay Area such as libraries, schools, and housing.
“I am extremely concerned that NBC Contractors continues to work on ongoing City of Oakland public-works projects, such as the 81st Avenue Branch Library and the Fox Courts Affordable Housing Development,” said Oakland City Councilmember Patricia Kernighan. “We must send a strong message that any illegal behavior will not be tolerated by the City.”
Some public agencies, including the Oakland Unified School District, that were notified of these charges have suspended or terminated their use of NBC Contractors.
“We will not utilize NBC Contractors on any current or projects until these charges are resolved,” said David Kakishiba, Oakland Board of Education Director. “We call on other public agencies working with NBC to take the same steps as the School District and immediately terminate the relationship.”
Kakishiba continued, “California taxpayers have entrusted us to use precious public revenue wisely, and NBC Contractors must be held accountable to the high standards our taxpayers expect and deserve.”
Speakers demanded a full continuing investigation and legal justice for any California taxpayers and workers defrauded by NBC Contractors.


Additional news article from the Oakland Post and Sing Tao.

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