CHICAGO (WMBD) — Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Tuesday that his office has expanded on a settlement made with Rivian subcontractors, requiring them to pay over $300,000 in back wages and penalties.
The consent decree filed requires China-based Guangzhou MINO Equipment Co. (MINO) and Florida-based BIW Automotive Solution Inc. (BIW), to pay owed overtime wages and civil penalties totaling $315,000 to 59 workers who were denied overtime wages they earned.
Two additional defendants, Mexico-based SDS Industrialservicio S.A. de C.V. (SDS) and its president, have refused to cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation or engage in settlement discussions. The Attorney General’s office also filed a lawsuit today to ensure that they also pay penalties owed under Illinois law.
“Any company doing business in our state must follow Illinois’ laws that require workers to be fairly paid for the time they work,” Raoul said. “These settlements should send a message that employers cannot hide behind subcontractors to avoid responsibility for stolen wages, and I appreciate the Illinois Department of Labor’s collaboration. I am committed to holding businesses – large and small – accountable for violating laws that safeguard workers and support law-abiding businesses in Illinois.”
According to the Attorney General’s office, MINO, BIW and SDS used an elaborate subcontracting arrangement to deny overtime pay to Mexican laborers at Rivian’s facility in Normal. After Rivian hired MINO to build assembly lines, MINO subcontracted work to BIW. BIW then further subcontracted to SDS to obtain much of the workforce MINO used to fulfill its obligations to Rivian.
Although SDS was responsible for paying the workers, MINO and BIW shared significant control over their work and their conditions of employment. This investigation revealed that employees at the Rivian plant typically worked between 60 and 80 hours per week, seven days a week.
Illinois law requires an overtime premium of 150% of regular hourly wages for each hour worked over 40 in a week. SDS’s employees did not receive any overtime wages required by law.
Under the consent decree Raoul’s office filed today, MINO agrees to pay 59 affected employees $170,000 in owed overtime wages and penalties, and BIW will pay an additional $145,000. Raoul’s office intends to vigorously pursue SDS and Semmelweis, the absent defendants, for the remainder of the money owed to workers.
Bureau Chief Alvar Ayala and Assistant Attorneys Generals Javier Castro and Henry Weaver handled the case for Raoul’s Workplace Rights Bureau.
Attorney General Raoul encourages workers who have concerns about wage and hour violations or potentially unsafe working conditions to call his Workplace Rights Hotline at 1-844-740-5076 or to file a complaint online.