NELP Issue Brief – The Politics of Wage Suppression

The Politics of Wage Suppression: Inside ALEC’s Legislative Campaign Against Low-Paid Workers

Main Findings:

• ALEC’s “model legislation” includes multiple proposals to weaken or repeal wage standards that protect the earnings of low-­‐paid workers. These proposals include measures to repeal state minimum wage laws, reduce minimum wage rates for youth and tipped workers, weaken overtime compensation policies, and block local governments from establishing living wage ordinances.

• Since January 2011, legislators from 31 states have introduced 105 bills that aim to suppress the wages of low-­‐paid workers by repealing or weakening core wage standards at the state or local level. 67 of these 105 bills were directly sponsored or co-­‐sponsored by ALEC-­‐affiliated legislators from 25 states.

• As conservative majorities assume power in 31 statehouses this year – including 15 statehouses under the control of veto-­‐proof supermajorities – ALEC’s wage suppression agenda poses a threat to the earnings and economic security of low-­‐paid workers across the country.

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Six H-1B Visa Abusers Arrested for “Benching” of Workers to Artificially Lower Wages

Recent actions by Federal authorities in Texas – namely the arrest of six top officials of Dibon Solutions for conspiracy to commit H-1B visa fraud and wire fraud charges – shows an uptick in prosecution of guest worker program abusers.

H1-B visa fraud lowers the wages of American workers by flooding markets with cheap foreign labor.  It also allows for abuse of those coming to America to work when the control of their passport and legal status is in the hands of unscrupulous employers.

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$78 Million Project in Ohio is Subject of a Major Prevailing Wage Dispute

A dispute about whether a $78 million project being built in Clifton Heights that uses some city money should pay prevailing wage to its workers is headed to court.

“We were under the impression that it was a prevailing wage project,” said Quinlivan, a former WCPO reporter.  “It was bid that way, it was advertised that way and there’s documentation to that effect,” she added. “Some time after the project got started, that changed.”

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Sign Up Now for the 15th Annual NAFC Conference – Oct. 9-11, 2013

NAFC will join with the Center for Contract Compliance (CCC) of Southern California to co-sponsor this years conference in sunny San Diego, CA. The conference will be held at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.  NAFC Chairman Rocco Davis and CCC Director Jim Reed are diligently planning content and speakers to ensure this will be our most successful conference to date.

Click on the below pdf to sign up now!  Spacing will be limited, so ensure to get your registration done early!  More information to be released on NAFC’s website @

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Prevailing Wage Whistleblower Protection Bill Vetoed by New Mexico’s Governor

A bill that sought to protect the identities of those who blew the whistle on employers who did not pay the public works minimum wage was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday.

“The bill’s overly broad mandate to protect the identity of prevailing wage complainants ignores the realities of prevailing wage investigation and prosecution,” Martinez said in her veto message.

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What Records Must Be Provided to the Department of Labor?

From restaurants in New York to childcare providers in Arkansas to the garment industry in Southern California, Department of Labor investigators continue to uncover FLSA violations by conducting unannounced workplace inspections.

Section 11(a) of the FLSA specifically authorizes representatives of the Department of Labor to investigate and gather data concerning wages, hours, and other employment practices:

The inspector may review documents showing the employer’s annual dollar volume of business transactions, involvement in interstate commerce, and/or work on government contracts.  Those documents are inspected to determine if the employer is a covered enterprise under the FLSA, or if the employees are protected by the FLSA because their work involves them in interstate commerce.

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Anointed Cleaners LLC Employees Paid Nearly $17,000 in Back Wages, Benefits Following US Labor Department Investigation

The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $16,963 in back wages for 13 employees of Anointed Cleaners LLC who were performing cleanup work on the Westlawn housing construction project in Milwaukee. An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that the subcontractor violated provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

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Bi-Partisan Bill by State Senators to Require Prevailing Wage Jobs in California Charter Cities

Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) will co-author a measure on prevailing wage to increase middle-class jobs, sustain a skilled workforce, and ensure cost efficient and high quality public works projects.

“Continuing California’s economic growth depends on creating more middle class jobs, especially in the construction industry that was hit so hard during the Great Recession,” said Steinberg. “Low wage contractors cut costs by cutting corners, but the data shows that they’re not saving public money. We can’t afford to shortchange workers and taxpayers by ignoring the economic net benefit of California’s prevailing wage law.”

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Board of Education Approves Wage Adjustments for School Renovation

The Board of Education approved a $254,557 change order to rectify payment to First Team Construction for wages paid on a project funded by a federal Qualified School Construction Bond.

Because the project is using a $5 million federal Qualified School Construction Bond, contractors must pay employees in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act. The act provides a specified wage index for on-site construction workers that was not being followed, due in-part to oversight and unfamiliarity with federal construction bonds, CFO Lisa Dickerson told the BOE in November when it was first made aware of the issue.

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(DOL Memorandum No. 208)