New Jersey Department of Labor halts work at Ewing construction site due to alleged violations of state labor laws

State officials are investigating labor violations by subcontractors at a construction site in Ewing, and have ordered work to be stopped at the site.

Officials from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued stop-work orders Thursday to three subcontractors working at the construction site for a warehouse at 380 Scotch Road. The 195,000-square-foot industrial building being built at the site will serve as a new warehouse for several state agencies The warehouse project is managed by Pennsylvania-based general contractor WARFEL. The Department of Labor’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted an audit and investigation of the three subcontractors after receiving a complaint. 

Subcontractors who were issued stop-work orders included Latz, Inc., of Tenafly for failure to pay prevailing wage, Westwood Construction of NJ LLC of Millstone Township for failure to pay prevailing wage, and Benchmark Site Development LLC of Norristown, Pennsylvania. for failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Latz and Benchmark were also cited for bidding on and performing public work without having registered with the state as a public works contractor. Under state law, contractors must pay workers a prevailing wage for publicly funded projects.

“Public contracting is a privilege, not a right. We are ensuring no taxpayer dollars are being used to exploit workers,” said Joseph Petrecca, assistant commissioner of the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance.

As of July 2019, the NJDOL has the authority to require an employer to cease business operations when significant pay, benefits, or other workers’ rights violations are documented. The tool has been used to shut down specific work sites, and in one case, to order shut all of a contractor’s current workplaces throughout the state. Contractors have the right to appeal orders and contest the action during a hearing. 

State officials are continuing to investigate additional contractors working on the Ewing warehouse project.