Illinois’ Construction Apprenticeship Programs Return $11 in Total Benefits for Every Dollar Invested


Published by Frank Manzo IV
AUGUST 24, 2016

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois finds that apprenticeship programs have significant positive social and economic impacts in Illinois.

Construction is the fastest-growing industry in Illinois. Over the next decade, the construction industry is projected to grow at twice the pace of the overall state economy, adding thousands of new jobs. All of the fastest-growing trades in Illinois’s construction industry require at least 3 years of apprenticeship training.

For many young Illinois workers, enrolling in a registered apprenticeship program is a better option than attending college or university. The annual income gain from participating in a registered apprenticeship program is $3,442 on average, greater than the average effect of having an associate’s degree and many bachelor’s degrees- including social work, English language and composition, and linguistics and foreign languages.

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(PDF Copy of Study)

Ensuring a Fair Day’s Pay

Kim Cullen
Jul 28, 2016

As employees join the “Fight for 15” and attempt to raise the minimum wage, many workers across the country are fighting just to collect last week’s paycheck. Now, following the example of other cities, counties, and states, Philadelphia ischanging the way it operates to make it easier for employees to collect the money they have earned and to deter employers from engaging in a practice known as wage theft.

Wage theft occurs when an employer does not pay an employee correctly. It takes many forms: failure to pay employees for hours they have worked, payment that is less than the minimum wage, failure to pay employees their proper overtime rate, and more. A recent report from Temple University’s Sheller Center for Social Justice estimates that in any given workweek, Pennsylvania employees lose between $19 and $32 million dollars due to wage theft. In the Philadelphia area alone, tens of thousands of wage theft cases occur every week. To address this reality, the Philadelphia City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will increase the city’s capacity to enforce the state and federal wage laws that are designed to protect employees from wage theft.

The ordinance makes two important changes to Philadelphia’s current regulatory scheme. First, the ordinance creates a Wage Theft Coordinator position within the city government. The Coordinator will receive, review, and adjudicate new wage theft complaints. While adjudicating, the Coordinator will examine the evidence-which could include records of hours worked and rates of pay-and determine if an employer has violated any wage laws. If the employer is found guilty and refuses to comply with the judgment, the Coordinator will have the authority to take further action by filing a complaint in court.

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WHD News Release: 07/11/2016

Release Number: 16-1439-CHI

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Pipefitters and bricklayers constructing the Viking Village Shared Facility Pool in Sharonville under a federal contract will recover a total of $147,000 in back wages and benefits following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Federal investigators found Gall Construction of America LTD underpaid the workers up to $17 per hour in salary and benefits, and violated provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, which govern wage rates for projects receiving federal funds. The company operates as Acapulco Pools.

The division determined the company classified 21 bricklayers and pipefitters as general labors and failed to pay prevailing wages, fringe benefits and overtime at the rate due for their job titles. Gall also failed to keep accurate time and payroll records for employees. To resolve these violations the company agreed to pay the workers the monies owed in back wages and benefits.

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USDOL Prevailing Wage Seminars for 2016

Join us at a Prevailing Wage Seminar in your region!

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Prevailing Wage Seminars (Prevailing Wage Seminars) are three-day compliance trainings designed for regional stakeholders (unions, private contractors, state agencies, federal agencies and workers). In these seminars, conference participants will learn about the following:

  • The Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara O’Hara Service Contract Act
  • Executive Order 13495 “Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers”
  • Executive Order 13658 “Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors”
  • The process of obtaining wage determinations and adding classifications
  • Compliance assistance and enforcement processes
  • The process for appealing wage rates, coverage, and compliance determinations


There is no fee to attend these seminars; however, space is limited. If you wish to attend, please click on the registration link for your desired location and follow the registration prompts. Each attendee must register separately. If registration is not yet open for the event you wish to attend, please check back. Please feel free to email if you have any questions.

Date Location
August 23 – 25, 2016 Portland, OR

For more information regarding the upcoming prevailing wage seminars, as well as information on the DBA and SCA visit or call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

(Click Here to Register)


WHD News Brief: 06/01/2016
Release Number: 16-1055-NAT
Participants: U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation

Partnership description: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. The two agencies will provide clear, accurate, and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees, and other stakeholders, share resources, and enhance enforcement by conducting joint investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law.

Quotes: “The Wage and Hour Division continues to attack this problem head-on through a combination of a robust education and outreach campaign, and nationwide, data-driven strategic enforcement across industries,” said David Weil, administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. “Our goal is always to strive toward workplaces with decreased misclassification, increased compliance, and more workers receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” David Weil, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator

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Labor Department investigating subcontractor on Trump’s Old Post Office project

Drew Hanson, Digital Editor
Updated Jun 27, 2016, 10:18am EDT

The Labor Department is investigating whether a subcontractor working on Donald Trump’s Old Post Office hotel underpaid employees working on the downtown D.C. project, according to The Washington Post.

A Labor spokesperson told the Post the agency is looking into whether Brentwood-based glass specialist The Craftsmen Group was paying wages below those required by federal law on government construction projects.

The investigation was first reported last week by Politico. Workers on the Pennsylvania Avenue construction site, including one Craftsmen employee, told Politico that they and others were not receiving wages mandated by the Davis-Bacon Act.

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WHD News Release: 06/16/2016
Release Number: 16-1214-NAT
Participants: U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
Virginia Employment CommissionPartnership description: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Virginia Employment Commission signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. The two agencies will provide clear, accurate and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees and other stakeholders; share resources; and enhance enforcement by conducting coordinated investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law.

Background: The division and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service are working with Virginia and 30 U.S. states to combat employee misclassification and to ensure that workers get the wages, benefits and protections to which they are entitled. Labeling employees as something they are not – such as independent contractors – can deny them basic rights such as minimum wage, overtime and other benefits. Misclassification also improperly lowers tax revenues to federal and state governments, as create losses for state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds.

More information on misclassification and the effort are available at

Colorado Loses Millions Each Year to Businesses Misclassifying Workers


Colorado is losing more and more money each year to employers dodging mandatory unemployment insurance premium payments, according to a Rocky Mountain PBS News analysis. The estimated loss is about $23 million dollars a year since 2011.

Employers are required to pay the premiums on their employees. But, by labeling workers “independent contractors” – or unsupervised workers who make their own schedule and are not directed in their responsibilities – companies don’t have to pay.

The problem occurs when an employee is directed and supervised, but labeled an independent contractor anyway.

The construction industry had the highest unpaid insurance premiums and largest number of misclassified workers from 2011 to 2015, according to the analysis of state unemployment insurance audit data. Between 2011 and 2015, random audits of construction companies in Colorado found $1 million dollars in unpaid premiums and 3,433 misclassified workers.

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SJ Insulation debarred from future government contracts following joint enforcement effort with New York Attorney General

WHD News Release: 05/25/2016
Release Number: 16-0804-NEW

NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $189,000 in unpaid wages and overtime for 28 carpenters and laborers who worked on the federally funded West 131st St. Cluster Project in Harlem between April 2009 and April 2010. This was the result of a joint enforcement effort with the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in which the two agencies shared information and worked collaboratively on behalf of workers in New York. The attorney general’s investigation continues.

“Contractors on federally funded construction projects commit to paying their workers the required wages and fringe benefits when they bid these contracts. When, as in this case, they cheat their workers, they are also cheating the taxpayers who ultimately fund these jobs,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Mark Watson, Jr. “As the resolution of this case demonstrates, we will not tolerate such illegal behavior.”

“We thank Attorney General Schneiderman and his staff for working jointly with us during the prosecution of this case. We have the mutual goals of ensuring that employees in our jurisdictions are paid and treated properly and employers who underpay their workers do not secure an unfair advantage over law-abiding employers,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, the department’s regional solicitor in New York.

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Sacramento, California, Landscaper to Pay More than $185,000 in Back Wages and Damages to Employees

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento-based Frank Carson Landscape & Maintenance Inc., doing business as Carson Landscape Industries, The Grove and TurfPro, has agreed to pay $185,270 in back wages and liquidated damages to 164 of their employees because of Fair Labor Standards Act overtime and record-keeping requirement violations. The agreement followed an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Investigators from the division’s Sacramento District Office found that the company failed to pay time and one- half for hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek, as required by law. The company failed to maintain accurate records of hours employees worked before and after their scheduled shifts, and paid only for scheduled hours rather than actual hours worked.

“This investigation puts money back into the hands of workers denied their rightfully earned wages. This practice hurts not only workers and their families, but it gives companies that violate the law an unfair competitive advantage,” said Richard Newton, the division’s district director in Sacramento.

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