DES MOINES, IA – In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent judgment to recover $1.7 million for nearly 2,900 workers employed by 145 different subcontractors in 2015 to euthanize birds and dispose of carcasses during the avian flu outbreak and is trying to locate workers owed back wages.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture contracted Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. of Norwell, Massachusetts, to remove potentially infected poultry waste – between April and September of 2015 – from sites primarily in Iowa. The department’s Wage and Hour Division later determined that subcontractors hired by Clean Harbors paid workers less than the prevailing wage required by their federal contract.
“Employers of more than 2,900 people who worked long hours in response to an environmental disaster shortchanged their hard-earned wages,” explained Regional Wage and Hour Division Administrator Michael Lazzeri. “Prime contractors, such as Clean Harbors, are responsible for their compliance with federal contract labor protections as well as the compliance of the subcontractors they employ.”
“The Wage and Hour Division is determined to make sure the employers pay federal contract workers their full prevailing wages, and we are eager to find the people owed these back wages,” Lazzeri added.
Many of the workers were employed by subcontractors such as Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health and Cotton Logistics, Cotton Logistics, SWS Environmental Services, Trident Environmental Group LLC and Triad Services at sites in Osceola, Sioux City and Cherokee, Iowa. Workers can use the department’s Workers Owed Wages search tool to see if their names are included in the wage settlement agreement and then email the Wage and Hour Division at email@example.com.
The outreach effort follows Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc.’s agreement on Sept. 29, 2022, to pay the back wages as part of a consent judgment entered by the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. The action resolved a January 2022 lawsuit filed after the division determined the company failed to audit its 145 subcontractors for compliance with the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.
Division investigators found the project’s subcontractors failed to pay workers the applicable wage determination. By doing so, they paid workers less than the required prevailing wage and fringe benefit and miscalculated workers’ hourly rate for overtime pay. In some cases, contractors also failed to pay overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek, a CWHSSA violation.
Founded in 1980, Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. is a leading provider of environmental and industrial services to the chemical and manufacturing industries, and to government agencies. The company provides hazardous waste management, emergency spill response, industrial cleaning and maintenance, and recycling services. Based in Massachusetts, Clean Harbors operates throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
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 and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.
Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.
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Office of Administrative Law Judge
Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc.