LABOR DEPT. COLLECTS $1.69 MILLION IN BACK WAGES FROM CONTRACTORS

WASHINGTON — The Labor Department during July, August and September 1999 collected $700,000 in back wages owed garment workers by contractors found in violation of federal minimum wage and overtime laws, the agency reported Monday.
The tally during the government’s last fiscal quarter of 1999 brings to $1.69 million the back wages collected during the 12-month period ended Sept. 30.
The report for the last quarter lists 65 contractors in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the 116 apparel makers for whom they were sewing apparel. Of the 1,520 garment workers receiving back pay, 630 were in California and 646 in the New York metropolitan area. The rest of the violations occurred in Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and the Miami area.
The largest incidence of back wages owed workers during the three-month period occurred at garment contractor Emeraldtex Inc., of South El Monte, Calif., the agency said. In addition to paying $247,069 in back wages owed 136 workers over two years, the company also paid a $20,000 fine for repeat violations. The contractor could not be reached for comment.
Labor officials also listed a Los Angeles contractor for being fined $6,400 for violating child labor laws. The violations occurred at Fancy Trim Co., a T-shirt silk screening company in Los Angeles. Five workers under the age of 18 were working with heavy machinery, like circular saws and guillotine shears, in violation of laws prohibiting minors from being employed in potentially hazardous work situations.