November 5, 2014
A case brought forward by the Kentucky Building Trades was recently upheld in the Kentucky Court of Appeals providing a victory for both the involved unions and their signatory contractors. The case will mean Teco Mechanical, a non-union contractor from Lexington, will pay $54,164 in back wages to its workers along with a $5,250 penalty (plus eight percent compound interest from December of 2004). The nearly decade-long case has gone through all levels of the Kentucky legal system and tested both the patience and perseverance of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.
The incidents themselves date back to 2000 when Teco worked several prevailing wage projects and failed to correctly pay its employees. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet then performed an investigation, according to the Court of Appeals opinion:
TECO is a mechanical contractor that provided contractor and subcontractor services on a number of public works projects. Pursuant to statute, contracts for these projects required TECO to pay its employees no less than the prevailing wage.1 KRS 337.510(1). In 2001, several TECO employees contacted the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and alleged that TECO had failed to pay them the prevailing wages for the work that they had performed. The employees asserted that TECO had paid them according to a formula under which it classified them as lower paid, general laborers for a fixed number of hours and as higher paid, skilled laborers for a fixed number of hours-regardless of the actual time spent working in each classification.