Compromise afoot in Senate on prevailing wage bill

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

By Joel Ebert, Capitol Bureau



Senate Republicans finalized a compromise on a bill that seeks to reform the state’s prevailing wage law late Wednesday afternoon.

The compromise would alter Senate Bill 361, which originally sought an outright repeal of prevailing wage rates for public construction projects.

Under the latest version of the bill, the outright repeal would be removed but two key components would be included.

One aspect would allow state-funded projects under $500,000 to not be subjected to prevailing wage rates.

The second aspect would change the manner in which the prevailing wage rates are determined. Currently the West Virginia Division of Labor determines the hourly prevailing wage rates by sending out a survey to both union and non-union companies throughout the state.

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Victory for Workers: Cook Co. Board Passes Anti-Wage Theft Law (VIDEO)

Ashlee Rezin

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, 11:35am

The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that aims to protect employee wages and force businesses to more closely follow labor laws.

Under the ordinance, companies or business owners found guilty of wage theft are barred for five years from obtaining Cook County procurement contracts, business licenses or property tax incentives. Also, companies pursuing business with the county will now have to certify compliance with federal and state wage and labor laws.

“[Wage theft] is unfair to hard-working employees and their families and it’s unfair to competing businesses which are operating within the confines of the law,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, shortly after Tuesday’s vote. “The legislation passed today will make Cook County a national leader targeting wage theft.”

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Melin Introduces Bill Combating Wage Theft

Costs American Workers $30 Billion Annually 

POSTED: 03:52 PM CST     Feb 11, 2015


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Today Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), joined by victims of wage theft, announced legislation combating wage theft.

“The American dream is about working hard and pursuing a better life,” said Rep. Melin. “But people across Minnesota are held back by employers who deny overtime pay, refuse to pay employees for the hours worked, or don’t pay minimum wage. This is how wage theft holds back people who are working to make ends meet.”

A report by the Economic Policy Institute shows wage theft costs American workers over $30 billion a year.

In 2012 the FBI reported every robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft cost less than $14 billion.

“The Iron Range was built on immigrate labor over 100 years ago. Wage theft was happening then and it is happening now. That is really unfortunate and disheartening and it is time we fixed the problem.”

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Employees’ Actions Lead To Contractor’s Conviction And Level The Playing Field

February 11, 2015



Feb. 11, 2015/PRNewswire/ — Licensed electrical contractor  Calvin Harris, of Harris Electric, was convicted of eight felony counts on February 9 for not paying employees prevailing wages and falsifying documents to conceal his actions. The investigation was conducted jointly by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Department of Insurance. According to Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley’s press release, two of Harris Electric’s employees reported being victims of the wage theft on three public works’ projects – Alameda County General Services Agency (Santa Rita Jail Solar Project), the Port of Oakland and the City of Fremont – which led to the investigation of Harris.  According to the press release, “A comparison of Harris’ payroll records for the Alameda County projects revealed employee wage theft violations of $359,347.89,” which impacted 11 employees.

Cook County OKs ordinance to combat wage theft

By Alejandro Cancino

February 10, 2015, 4:39 PM

Cook County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at deterring businesses from engaging in wage theft. Wage theft has been defined as having employees work off the clock, for example. It is a violation of labor law.

Businesses that have broken state or federal wage and labor laws would be disqualified from receiving property tax abatements, business licenses or county contracts. Companies seeking to do business with Cook County also would be required to file an affidavit certifying they have not violated any wage and labor laws.

“We are hoping companies would think twice about engaging in wage theft,” said Edward Olivieri, a spokesman for Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who introduced the ordinance.

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US Department of Labor recovers $106K in fringe benefits for workers on federally financed construction projects

Date:  February 9, 2015

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-2268-SAN

SAN FRANCISCO — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division discovered that Napa-based Avcon Constructors Inc. did not make timely benefit plan payments on behalf of 19 employees working at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Hospital and the Training Exercise Warehouse at Fort Hunter Liggett. Employees on these projects were working on federally financed contracts subject to Davis-Bacon and Related Acts regulations. The DBRA requires that contributions to funds for bona fide fringe benefits must be made at least quarterly.

“Taxpayers have the right to expect that federal contractors understand their obligations and comply with the law,” said Susana Blanco, director for the department’s Wage and Hour division in San Francisco. “The department works to ensure workers are paid proper wages and benefits in a timely manner. The agency will take action to recover payment when workers are denied their rightful compensation. We do so to create a level playing field for employers, ensuring those who shortchange workers do not gain a competitive advantage.”

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Honolulu subcontractor pays more than $305K in back wages, damages to 65 workers after US Labor Department investigation

U.S. Department of Labor          February 9, 2015

Wage and Hour Division            Release Number: 14-2339-SAN (SF-9)

HONOLULU — M.H. Electric has paid $290,588 in back wages to 65 workers after the U.S. Department of Labor determined that the Honolulu-based subcontractor violated federal wage and hour laws at 10 federally funded construction projects awarded in Hawaii between 2012 and 2014 by the Hawaii Air National Guard and the U.S. Departments of the Navy, Army and Veterans Affairs. In resolving the department’s allegations, the company also paid an additional $14,507 in back wages and damages for overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division found M.H. Electric violated the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. The company failed to pay its employees for their overtime hours in a timely manner. Instead, the employer systematically “banked” those overtime hours at straight-time wage rates for future use as vacation or sick time, or to be used when employees worked less than 40 hours. That violated the overtime standards of both the CWHSSA and the FLSA, which require that an employer pay time and one-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

“Federal contractors owe it to taxpayers to comply with all applicable laws, including paying their workers fairly and fully,” said Terence Trotter, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Honolulu. “In this case, we appreciate the cooperation shown by M.H. Electric to help resolve the matter expeditiously and to commit to future compliance with applicable labor standards.”

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Governor Cuomo Announces $30 Million in Recovered Wages

Record Amount Disbursed to More Than 27K Workers for 2014

February 4, 2015 | Albany, NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new record in 2014 for the amount of money returned to workers who originally were not paid the proper minimum wage, overtime pay or fringe benefits. In 2014, $30.2 million was disbursed to nearly 27,000 workers – more than any previous year and a 35 percent increase in recovered funds over 2013.

“No one should be cheated out of their hard-earned wages, and as these numbers show, our administration is making a difference for workers across the State by actively cracking down on wage theft,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to say that investigators recovered more stolen wages in 2014 than ever before – which means more money stays with the hard-working men and women who earned it in the first place.”

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Oregon Launches Investigation into Hillsboro Wage Theft Case

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Cornelius Swart, GoLocal PDX Director of Content


The State of Oregon has opened an investigation into a Hillsboro company accused of stealing worker’s wages on a series of taxpayer funded construction projects that date back as far as 2011.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry launched a formal investigation into Cornerstone Janitorial last year after GoLocalPDX reported that several former workers claimed they had been denied their full legal wages on a handful of publicly funded construction jobs.

Last year, Hoffman Construction, a general contractor that hired Cornerstone, filed two complaints against the firm for work it did on the Oregon State Hospital in Junction City and an underground parking garage at Portland Community College Cascade Campus in North Portland. BOLI then launched separate investigations into three other projects that Cornerstone worked on over the last four years.

Jose Tandy, a Mexican immigrant and resident of Southeast Portland, has told GoLocalPDX that he was paid an average of $12 an hour for jobs with state-mandated wages of $36. Tandy presumed that Cornerstone owner, Sang Nam, pocketed the difference.

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