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Construction workers win $8.5-million settlement

The parent company of Western Insulation and Schmid Insulation was accused in a class-action suit of violating California wage and hour laws.

March 11, 2009|Joanna Lin

Thousands of mostly Latino workers will share in an $8.5-million settlement with a national construction firm they had accused in a class-action lawsuit of violating California's wage and hour laws, attorneys in the case said Tuesday.

The workers, most of whom did not belong to a union, installed insulation, rain gutters and fireplaces, said Todd Jackson, one of several attorneys representing the more than 3,100 employees.

The suit alleged that Masco Contractor Services Inc. and its California subsidiaries, Western Insulation and Schmid Insulation Contractors, failed to pay the workers for a full day's work when warranted.

"We're very satisfied with this settlement," Jackson said. "We think it's a very good deal for the workers and pays them back for some hours which we alleged that they were not paid for."

The lawsuit is believed to be among the state's largest class actions involving wage claims by Latino workers, Jackson said. The suit did not include allegations of discrimination.

"It is an important reminder that all workers have rights that can be protected by California courts," Jackson said.

Masco and its subsidiaries "deny any liability," Kathleen Vokes, a spokeswoman for Masco Corp., which owns Masco Contractor Services, said in a prepared statement.

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer approved the settlement Monday. Workers represented in the lawsuit include current and former California installers who worked for Western Insulation and Schmid Insulation at any time from Oct. 13, 2002, to Sept. 30, 2008, and who worked for Masco between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2008.

Affected workers do not have to file any claim forms and will begin receiving settlement checks by mail in mid-April, attorneys said. Workers who have changed their address since their time of employment or who have questions about the settlement can call (888) 546-7439.

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joanna.lin@latimes.com

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