The bus manufacturer solves a fraud case linked to a government contract

On Thursday, a non-profit group said it had established itself a fraud report filed a lawsuit against New Flyer of America, a bus manufacturer who is a large government contractor in California.

The non-profit organization Jobs to Move America, accused New Flyer in 2018 that it failed to fulfill the company’s commitment to create several dozen jobs above a certain pay when it won a contract for hundreds of buses with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

According to the legal complaint, filed on behalf of the transportation agency and the State of California, the company said it would create more than 50 full-time jobs at a facility in Ontario, California, of which more than 90 percent would pay. at least $ 18.35 per hour. But documentation uncovered by Jobs to Move America indicated that most workers were earning $ 17 an hour or less at the start of the contract. The complaint also accused New Flyer of sending false information to LA Metro about worker benefits.

New Flyer does not admit wrongdoing and will pay $ 7 million to settle the case, which will likely be split equally between LA Metro and Jobs to Move America after deducting expenses such as legal fees. Madeline Janis, executive director of the nonprofit organization, said she plans to distribute some of the money to workers who had been employed by New Flyer in California.

The company also agreed to take steps to help ensure better compliance in subsequent contracts with LA Metro, including the designation of an officially formed company to monitor salaries and benefits to oversee compliance.

In recent decades, government agencies have awarded contracts to contractors on the condition that they produce a certain number of jobs or pay certain wages and benefits, but enforcing these commitments can be difficult.

As part of the agreement, New Flyer has agreed to enact a so-called community benefit agreement that applies to its facility in Ontario, California, and to a facility in Anniston, Ala.

Under the benefits deal, which Ms. Janis said was the first of its kind in the Deep South, the company said it would ensure that 45% of new hires at the factories came from historically disadvantaged groups, including blacks and indigenous people. , women and veterans. The company has pledged to reserve at least 20% of promotions in each establishment for members of these groups.

“I’m pinching myself for getting to this point,” Ms. Janis said in an email. “It’s amazing to have the opportunity to work with a company to create true racial fairness for factories in the Deep South.”

You work to move America had highlighted a survey of workers from an Alabama A&M University professor who shows that, on average, New Flyer paid white workers far more than black workers at the Alabama plant. The company said that all employees with the same job rank and position were paid equally.

The benefits agreement also requires the company to establish a range of training programs, such as teaching workers to perform metal, mechanical and electrical work, and to allow an independent community group to help workers file complaints. discrimination and harassment.

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