Attorney General William Tong is suing Project Service LLC for allegedly failing to make sure the workers at the 23 service plazas it operates are paid the “standard wage” as set forth by the 35-year contract the company has with the state.
“Project Service LLC has been violating the law for some time,” Tong said Friday at a press conference.
Project Service LLC, which has been owned by private investors in the past and is currently owned by Applegreen, IST3 Investment Foundation, and TD Asset Management, did not return requests for comment.
The lawsuit was filed in Hartford Superior Court.
Tong said the original 2009 agreement with the Department of Transportation makes it clear that the contractor and the subcontractors have to pay the standard wage plus 30% in fringe benefits. That would bring Robert Thomas’ salary up from $16 an hour to $18.21 an hour.
Thomas, a shift supervisor at the Wilbur Cross Plazas in North Haven, said when he learned about the underpayment “I felt like I was getting played. The law is the law.”
He said $2.21 an hour might seem like a lot, but it would make a big difference in his life.
“Here’s the problem with this case, I find no joy in bringing this lawsuit,” Tong said. However, he said it’s a privilege to have a 35 year contract for these 23 service location and while it doesn’t fit the definition of the law – Project Service – holds “something like monopoly power over all of our service centers.”
The 2,000 workers who work at the plazas are not unionized, but 32BJ has been looking to help the workers and were instrumental in getting this wage case to Tong’s attention.
Tong said he’s not suing Project Service LLC for breach of contract, just seeking to recover the wages for the workers, which he said amounts to about $2.7 million between 2017 and 2019.
Tong said the workers continue to be underpaid to this day.