LABELLE, FL – Federal investigators have found that a subcontractor employed during construction of a new reservoir pump station on the Caloosahatchee River in Hendry County failed to pay 11 electricians the correct wage rate for the federally supported project, denying them $171,998 in wages and benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor determined Quality Electric Contracting Inc. of Clewiston should have paid the electricians $37 per hour to pull wire, run conduit and ground wire for the new Labelle pump station but paid them $25 per hour or less for their work.
After reviewing the company’s pay records, the department’s Wage and Hour Division learned the employer paid some electricians the lower rates for laborers and others a higher laborers’ rate. Ultimately, Quality Electric failed to pay the electricians the project’s prevailing wage rate. The subcontractor also did not provide the project’s required health and welfare benefits to most of the affected workers.
In doing so, the employer violated provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. These regulations govern pay practices of construction contractors and subcontractors working on federally funded or assisted contracts.
“When they bid on federally supported contracts, employers must follow the applicable wage classification rates in the contracts and cannot negotiate and pay lower rates,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida. “Employers who fail to pay workers the required wage rates in the awarded contract can find themselves liable for significant amounts of back wages and, in some cases, debarred from bidding on future contracts.”
Employers who have questions about complying with the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts are encouraged to attend an upcoming prevailing wage seminar.
The South Florida Water Management District project’s prime contractor, Harry, Pepper & Associates Inc. subcontracted with Quality Electric Contracting to complete electrical work on the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir Pump Station.
Workers who feel they may not be getting the wages they earned may contact a Wage and Hour Division representative in their state through a list and interactive online map on the agency’s website. The division also offers numerous online resources for employers, including a website for government contracts compliance assistance and a fact sheet on the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. Employers and workers can get their questions answered – regardless of where they are from – by contacting the Wage and Hour Division confidentially at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. The department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.