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GA-ASI Pays Workers $945,000 in Back Wages to Comply With Prevailing Wage Edicts

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has paid $945,000 in back wages to 901 of its employees nationwide following a Department of Labor investigation, the federal agency said on Aug. 27.

The Poway-based company makes the Predator unmanned aircraft and associated electronics.

At issue was a law that calls on federal contractors to pay prevailing wage.

“Federal law requires government contractors to pay their workers the prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits in their geographic area,” said a statement issued by the department’s San Francisco office. “… A departmental investigation found General Atomics violated the federal wage requirements in paying 901 employees at job sites throughout the U.S., including the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in Ridgecrest, Calif. …

“Investigators determined General Atomics paid employees assigned to work outside of their home areas the prevailing wage rates for the area where they were based, not the area in which they worked. In a number of cases, the required wages at the remote job sites were higher than the wages the workers were actually paid.”

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems agreed to pay its employees the highest prevailing wage among all of its job sites going back six-years.

“Failing to pay the correct prevailing wages hurts workers, and it also negatively affects other contractors who pay proper wages,” the Labor Department’s David Weil said in a prepared statement.

“We appreciate that General Atomics was cooperative throughout the investigation and immediately came into compliance,” said Weil, administrator of the department’s Wage and Hour Division. “They also ensured that all employees working on their contracts were paid back wages once the issues were brought to their attention.”

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems issued a brief statement, saying: “As the [Department of Labor] press release states, we were cooperative throughout the investigation and immediately came into compliance.”

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and its affiliate, General Atomics, rank as the ninth largest employer in San Diego County, according to the 2015 Book of Lists, with 6,714 employees as of August 2014.

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