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US Department of Labor recovers $633,000 in back wages for 84 workers on DC site

The U.S. Department of Labor says it has recovered $633,029 in back wages for 84 workers denied their full wages and benefits by subcontractors involved in construction of an affordable housing development funded by the District of Columbia.

Three offices of the department’s Wage and Hour Division conducted investigations of six subcontractors hired to work on The Bridge project in the district’s southeast section by the development’s general contractor, McCullough Construction and its first-tier subcontractors, the DOL says in a March 20 statement. The division found the employers violated the Davis- Bacon Act, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The division recovered $292,193 in back wages for 14 employees of MTZ Electric Service LLC of Laurel, Maryland, after determining the subcontractor misclassified workers as independent contractors, failed to pay prevailing wage rates and the required overtime premium, failed to provide health and welfare fringe benefits, and violated recordkeeping requirements when it omitted workers from certified payroll records and falsified certified payroll records. Colonial Electric Company Inc. of Harwood, Maryland – the first-tier subcontractor that hired MTZ Electric – agreed to pay the back wages.

To resolve the case, MTZ’s owner, Victor Martinez, signed a consent agreement to accept debarment, which prohibits the employer from bidding on federally funded construction projects for a period of three years.

The division also recovered $253,146 in back wages for seven workers of Igloo Construction Inc. in Westminster, Maryland. Investigators found the employer failed to pay proper prevailing wages and fringe benefits, falsified certified payroll records, and hired a labor broker who failed to report its workers on weekly certified payroll records. The division held the first-tier contractor – Titan Mechanical Inc. of Manassas Park, Virginia – liable for the back wages because they failed to include the required Davis-Bacon labor standards’ clauses in their subcontract with Igloo.

The division also found the DBRA and CWHSSA violations by the following subcontractors:

Subcontractor Location Violations Workers Wages
M&Y Exteriors LLC Manassas, VA Misclassification of employees; CWHSSA overtime premium owed 7 $53,451
Muller Construction LLC Springfield, VA Prevailing wage and fringe benefits owed; falsified records; workers omitted from records;

CWHSSA overtime premium owed

5 $19,460
Allied Drywall Construction Inc. Washington D.C. Prevailing wage and fringe benefits owed 45 $10,051
Diverse Masonry Corp. Catharpin, Virginia Prevailing wage and fringe benefits owed. 6 $4,728

“Contractors must properly incorporate the applicable wage determination and the Davis-Bacon labor standards clauses directly into all lower-tier subcontract agreements when working on a federally funded construction project. We are here to assist contractors and subcontractors with questions about the federal labor requirements and help ensure they comply with all applicable laws,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Mark Watson, in Philadelphia.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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