Workers Fired for Grievance

El Editor. Lubbock, TX. August 22-29, 1990

Two workers that filed an official complaint against a sub-contractor of the Lubbock Independent School District with the Department of Labor for failure to pay the required wage for work being done on School property were fired from their jobs by their employers.

Last week El Editor reported that reports had been given to School Trustee Linda DeLeon about sub-contractor not paying the required minimum wage for jobs performed. The report claimed that sub-contractor were opting to pay penalties for not paying minimum wage rather than paying wages as they were required by bid specifications.

An official complaint was filed by two workers on Friday by Stephen C. McIntyre representing two workers against Horizon Builders, Inc.

In last week’s story El Editor reported that DeLeon had made the complaint to the LISD and that LISD had responded that “it was not their job to investigate.”

In a story in Lubbock’s daily newspaper on Monday, Superintendent of schools Mike Moses claimed that the complaints were being investigated. “It’s my understanding that it is our responsibility to investigate the complaint and to undertake any action to ensure contractors are adhering to the prevailing wage schedule,” Moses told the A-J.

Since the filing of the original complaint both workers have been fired.

The complaint for retaliation was subsequently filed by Stephen C. McIntyre stated that a class action complaint was mailed on August 17 to the United States Department of Labor. “A copy was hand delivered around 10:00 a.m., August 17, to Jerry Simpson, the Posey Elementary site representative of Horizon Builders, Inc. Within a few minutes of the delivery of the complaint, Ricardo Efrain Armenta (the complainant) was fired from his job by Jerry Simpson.”

The complaint for retaliation states that after McIntyre contacted Horizon Builders and the LISD, Armenta was reinstated but that Armenta was laid off on Monday being told that there was no more work. “No other worker was laid off on Monday. There were two other carpenters that are still working on the site. On information and belief there is work for carpenters for about seven days.

The other workers filing a complaint on August 17, Otis Ray Priestley, was allegedly harassed after the employer was served. “About 20 minutes later (after Armenta was fired) Mr. Simpson approached Mr. Priestley and asked if he had shown the wage rates to the women employees. An argument started and Mr. Priestley attempted to call the police. While he had the dispatcher on the line he was threatened by Mr. Simpson and the phone was forcibly hung up. Mr. Priestley immediately ran from the work site to the store two blocks away where he called the police dispatcher a second time and reurged the dispatcher to send an officer,” stated the complaint.

McIntyre has asked that Priestley and Armenta be reinstated to their jobs with back pay and that the complaint for retaliation be investigated.