Rivian subcontractors fined to repay back wages to Mexican workers 

Illinois Attorney General has reached a $390,000 settlement with three firms working at the Rivian facility in Normal over late salaries and fines. A collaborative investigation by the attorney general’s office and the Illinois Department of Labor resulted in the settlement.

According to Mike Raikes, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union in the Twin Cities, the Chinese, Spanish, and Mexican corporations recruited subcontractors who violated worker rights to develop Rivian’s production line.

Raikes stated, “They were not reimbursed for overtime hours worked. Furthermore, it raises the question of whether these persons were paying taxes. It had a negative impact on our local workforce. It was detrimental to our local contractors, “

Raikes believes it is unfortunate that businesses will go to great lengths to violate the law purposely. The companies in question also work at other auto facilities in the United States.

“Any corporation doing business in our state must respect regulations that require workers to be adequately compensated for the hours they work,” stated Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in a news release. “This settlement should send a message to companies that they cannot hide behind subcontractors to evade liability for stolen earnings.”

According to the attorney general’s office, the three companies devised a complex subcontracting system that permitted them to refuse overtime pay.

The investigation revealed that after hiring Guangzhou Mino Equipment to build out its production line, Rivian subcontracted work to Spain-based IT8 Software Engineering, which subsequently subcontracted to Mexico-based LAM Automation to source much of the workers for the job. According to the attorney general’s office, the subcontractors assisted Mexican laborers in obtaining visas to work on construction projects at Rivian and other EV factories in the United States.

According to the Attorney General, although LAM was in charge of paying the workers, Mino and IT8 shared major influence over their job and working conditions.

The agreements require Mino, IT8, and LAM to get licenses from any future subcontractors they use in Illinois to ensure they will comply with Illinois law.

Raikes feels the situation could have been avoided if Rivian had signed a contract with the union to use union workers.

Mino and IT8 agreed to pay $145,000 in overtime payments and penalties to the 54 employees who worked at the Normal plant as part of the settlements. In addition, LAM agreed to compensate the workers $100,000. The Illinois minimum wage law permits employees to reclaim up to three times their salaries if underpaid. According to the attorney general’s office, the settlements amount to 270 percent of the overtime wages the employees were entitled to.

A Rivian spokesman has not yet returned a request for comments.

 

Brandy Fietsop
Brandy is a contributor at The Volter and she is a passionate writer.

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