Envirotech Services recently joined a labor dispute lawsuit which already boasts 16 plaintiff electricians and their union, plus 10 contractors and two school districts.

The electricians and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 479 claim in 2009 they worked on the Willie Ray Smith Middle School construction project in Beaumont and the Stephen F. Austin Middle School, Sam Houston Middle School and Tyrell Elementary School projects in Port Arthur.

According to the complaint filed Feb. 9 in Jefferson County District Court, the plaintiffs allege the defendants did not follow prevailing wage laws when they paid the electricians.

The suit's original defendants include the Beaumont Independent School District, Port Arthur Independent School District, U.S. General Contractors, Prime Electrical Services, Prime Electrical WBE, Walker Electric Co., Express Services Inc., Express Employment Professionals, Frost Enterprises Inc., Healthy Resources Enterprise, Cooper Group and DSF Advance Staffing.

Envirotech was named as a defendant in the plaintiffs' second amended petition, filed in October.

On Nov. 29 Envirotech filed its original answer, denying every allegation and demanding strict proof of any wrongdoing.

State law states the electricians are to earn the prevailing wage for their work to protect "local wage standards by preventing contractors from basing their bids on wages lower than those prevailing in the area [and] giving local labor and the local contractors a fair opportunity to participate" in public-works building programs, according to the suit.

However, the electricians, whose salaries ranged from $12.50 per hour to $21 per hour, claim they were not paid the prevailing wage rates as they should have been for their work on the school projects.

The plaintiffs in the case are James Doty, Kelvin L. Brown, Cornelious Thomas, Justin Brown, Dereck Hadnot, Jerry Gage, Brandon McKenney, Larry E. Lewis, Reginald Dean, Jardell Resean Elam, Adam Guillot, Stephen Rivero, Matt Faul, Herman Joseph, David R. Die Jr. and Angela Polk.

John Werner of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont represents them.

Envirotech is represented by Houston attorney Keith Peterson.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. E185-886

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