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FUSD Sides with Workers in Wage Theft Case Against Contractor
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 14, 2024

Fresno Unified School District sides with workers who say they were not paid for work they did on Slater Elementary School in 2018. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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Fresno Unified has taken the side of construction workers who say they still have not been paid for work they did in 2018 on Slater Elementary School for the district’s largest contractor.

The Department of Industrial Relations is mediating a $782,000 civil wage claim against Davis Moreno Construction of Fresno brought by 22 carpenters.

Workers received nearly nothing for their eight weeks of work six years ago, according to David Rivas, senior field representative with the Nor Cal Carpenters Union.

In a letter to the California Labor Commissioner on Monday, the district and the School Board through attorney Bryan Martin said they support the “fair, reasonable and timely payment to all individuals providing services to the District.

“The Governing Board of Education wishes to lodge its support for the workers that have been the subject of the controversy for several years and, as appropriate, to have those workers made whole for any losses they have sustained by virtue of their work on the District’s project.”

Decision to Side with Workers Comes After Video Published

The letter comes after a video documentary of the case was published this year. The video’s creator remains unknown.

The union has assisted the workers since before they took the job in 2018, according to Rivas.

Rivas said in a previous interview with GV Wire it raised flags that Davis Moreno and subcontractor Gene Garcia Construction had hired workers who don’t normally work prevailing wage jobs.

They informed the workers of what to expect, including the higher pay rate. Rivas said it did not take long for the workers to go unpaid.

“It went bad really fast,” Rivas said.

The union arranged a meeting between workers, the district, and Davis Moreno Construction to inform them about the unpaid wages.

After the meeting, workers received unofficial checks that did not cover more than one weeks’ worth of work, according to the video. Rivas said the workers did around eight weeks of work.

Davis Moreno continues to be the district’s biggest construction contractor, even after the wage theft claims.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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