Dozens of Contracted Janitors at Census Bureau to Protest Cuts to Jobs, Hours and Pensions After up to 30 Years on the Job and Contracting COVID at Work
Contractor shares parent company with entities that defrauded government and left soldiers at risk of live fire
Suitland, MD –The Census Bureau will see less cleaning inside as Alutiiq Logistics and Maintenance, LLC lays off and cuts hours for 41 immigrant janitors, many who have been on the job for over 20-30 years, risking their lives during the pandemic. The janitorial contractor shares a parent company (Alutiiq, LLC) with subsidiaries that settled nearly $2 million in fraudulent kickback schemes and false claims charges, while another subsidiary potentially put U.S. soldiers’ lives at risk.
Laid off janitor, Dunia Orteja is a single mother of three who says she contracted COVID at work and infected her three children, including her six-month-old baby. “I sacrificed my health and my family’s health for this job,” said Orteja. “I’m about to lose my house and without income, I won’t be able to feed my kids or afford my asthma inhaler.” The janitors are currently uninsured because Alutiiq offers only an unaffordable, out-of-pocket plan with basic coverage. Alutiiq is also trying to end employer contributions to the pension and force the defined benefit into a less stable retirement account.
Alutiiq International Solutions, LLC Settles for Over $1.25 Million in Kickback Fraud-Related Charges
Alutiiq, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Afognak Native Corporation, an Alaskan Native Corporation. Alutiiq, LLC and its wholly owned subsidiaries, which include Alutiiq Logistics and Maintenance, LLC, Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC and Aluttiq International Solutions, LLC, hold a number of federal contracts. Currently, AIS holds the contract at the Census Bureau.
In 2020, Alutiiq International Solutions, LLC (“AIS”), a subsidiary of Alutiiq, LLC agreed to pay over $1.25 million to resolve a Justice Department investigation into a kickback and fraud scheme where an AIS project manager received kickbacks from a subcontractor on the project, in exchange for steering work to the subcontractor. The AIS project manager billed the GSA for services purportedly provided by an on-site superintendent despite the fact there was no superintendent on site, causing the GSA to pay AIS $568,800 that it should not have paid. The AIS project manager also illegally inflated the estimated costs that Alutiiq received from its subcontractor, costing the GSA another $690,644. AIS has since been in compliance.
Army Soldiers Potentially Endangered During Live-Fire Training, Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC Pays Nearly $700,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Exposure
In 2018, Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC, a subsidiary of Alutiiq, LLC, paid $683,987 to resolve claims that it improperly billed the United States Army for the construction of a shoot house used as a live-fire, close-quarters combat training facility. The investigation revealed that the shoot house was not built to standards, which could have impacted the building material’s ability to absorb bullets. Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC’s false claims about the reliability of materials could have endangered Army soldiers during live-fire training. Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC agreed to remediate the shoot house at no cost to the government.
Alutiiq, LLC and Afognak Native Corporation Settle False Claims Act Lawsuit
In 2010, a Native Corporation by 2012. Afognak NC and Alutiiq, LLC denied the allegations, and the case was eventually settled in 2019 for an undisclosed amount, and dismissed with prejudice.former chief compliance officer of Afognak NC filed a False Claims Suit against Afognak NC and Alutiiq, LLC, alleging that they created sham entities to compete for government contracts that were reserved for 8(a) small businesses. The complaint alleged that these 8(a) entities existed merely as conduits to obtaining government contracts which would otherwise be available only to qualified 8(a) small businesses. As a result, Afognak NC allegedly doubled its 2007 revenue and became the sixth largest Alaska.
“Alutiiq Logistics and Maintenance, LLC is maximizing profits at the expense of janitors’ livelihoods and tenant safety by cutting back as federal workers return from a pandemic where cleaning was vital to public health,” said 32BJ SEIU Vice President, Jaime Contreras. “Alutiiq is dragging standards down and setting a precedent that allows federal contractors to follow a race to the bottom.”
With 175,000 members in 11 states, including 85,000 in New York, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country