A Somerville waste disposal company must pay $90,000 as a result of a two-year investigation by the state attorney general's office into wage law violations.
Russell Disposal, comprised of Russell Disposal Inc., F.W. Russell & Sons Disposal, Inc., RDI Belmont, Inc., Langton & Douglas Contracting, Inc., and F.W. Russell & Sons & Granddaughter, Inc., and its three corporate officers, will pay $70,000 to 352 current and former employees as well as a $20,000 penalty to the Commonwealth to resolve numerous allegations surrounding state wage laws. Russell also agreed to a two-year monitoring and compliance plan.
"Justice has prevailed,” said Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O'Brien in a press release. “Today should serve as a wake-up call to Russell Disposal that it is time once and for all to clean up its act. Their employees, and the public they serve, deserve no less.”
Russell officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Investigation into Russell's alleged violations began in 2008 after employees submitted complaints to the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division citing wage and hour violations. According to Teamsters Local 25, the union representing Russell employees, Russell failed to pay drivers when they worked more than 40 hours a week and performed numerous record-keeping and public safety infractions.
State investigators from the attorney general’s Office confirmed the abuses and cited Russell for three intentional and one unintentional violation of the state’s wage and hour laws, according to a press release submitted by the office.
At the time of the complaints, Russell was engaged in trash collection for several local municipalities, including Belmont, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Methuen, Somerville, Wakefield, Walpole and Wilmington, the press release states.
According to O'Brien, Russell continued to receive contracts from municipalities, such as Somerville, while the investigation was being performed, despite warnings from the union of Russell's unfair labor practices.
“FW Russell Disposal, through its silent partners and owners, finally have to become accountable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for violating the wage and hour laws," said O'Brien. “This settlement is a great message to others in the Trash and Recycling industry.”