Ohio House eyes prevailing wage law for public works projects

By Marc Kovac, staff writer
Published: May 9, 2017 3:50 PM

COLUMBUS – The Ohio House launched hearings Tuesday on legislation that would give local communities discretion on whether to follow the state’s prevailing wage law on public works projects.

Backers of HB 163 and companion legislation in the Ohio Senate say the proposal stops well short of an outright repeal, as has been attempted in the legislature in past sessions.

Instead, Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) said, it would give affected local governing authorities the power opt out of “state-mandated wage” requirements.

But Democrats on the Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee voiced concern about the bill Tuesday. Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) questioned whether the bill would lead to fewer jobs, lower wages and more people needing public assistance.

“Is this bill worth losing billions of economic activity…?” he asked.

And Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) asked whether it would be more appropriate to increase local government funding.

Union groups also do not support the change – according to the Ohio State Building & Construction Trades Council, Ohio’s prevailing wage law “protects and preserves local area wages on federal and state construction projects. It guarantees that workers are paid fairly.”

Matt Szollosi, executive director of the Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, who attended Tuesday’s hearing, said his group is “adamantly opposed” to the legislation.

“Based on data that we have from a recent study that was commissioned and completed by professors at Kent State University, Bowling Green State University and Colorado State University, a severe weakening or repeal of prevailing wage would result in construction workers’ incomes being reduced by 16 percent and would push a significant percentage of construction workers below poverty level and onto public assistance,” he said.

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Sen. Wallingford seeks to fix, not repeal prevailing wage

Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Mark Bliss ~ Southeast Missourian

State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, wants to fix rather than repeal Missouri’s prevailing wage law.

“I think most people realize this needs some fixes,” he said.

Gov. Eric Greitens has called for a repeal of the law, which requires contractors to pay a state-determined minimum wage for each construction trade on public-works projects.

Wallingford met earlier this year in Cape Girardeau with about 20 area contractors. Wallingford said union and nonunion contractors told him they don’t want lawmakers to repeal the prevailing-wage law.

Labor unions provide skilled training for their members and health insurance, according to Rick McGuire, business manager for Laborers Union Local 1140 in Cape Girardeau.
Tim Pekios, who operates nonunion Midwest Environmental Studies, a Cape Girardeau-based asbestos-abatement company, favors keeping the prevailing-wage law.

“It is not just a union thing,” he said Wednesday.

Pekios, who was one of the contractors who met with Wallingford in February, said the current law “allows all companies to get the best workers.”

Without such a law, low-wage companies with less-skilled workers could end up with public-works contracts, Pekios said.

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BERGEN CONTRACTER CHARGED WITH LARCENY FOR ALLEGED WAGE FRAUD

By Dylan Skriloff on August 4, 2016

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced the filing of criminal charges against Christopher Greco (DOB 07/07/65) of 260 East Crescent Avenue, Mahwah, New Jersey for allegedly defrauding nine employees out of more than $82,000 by failing to pay the mandatory prevailing wages on several public works projects for the County of Rockland.

Greco is charged with:

* Six count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, class “D” Felonies
* One count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class “E” Felony
* 48 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies
* One count of Petit Larceny, a class “A” Misdemeanor

District Attorney Zugibe said, “Firms doing business with the County of Rockland are obligated to pay their workers legally prevailing wages, which include salary and supplemental benefits. Cases like this demonstrate that we are vigilant in uncovering such criminal conduct and that unscrupulous contractors will get caught and have to pay the consequences for cheating workers out of their rightful wages.”

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Oregon Law to Affect Pay Stubs, Time and Pay Records, and Wage Theft

6/16/2016
by Kelly Riggs

The State of Oregon has enacted a new law, SB 1587, designed to increase transparency with respect to employee pay, prevent wage theft, and expose wage and hour violations. Generally, the law will require employers to provide additional details on itemized pay stubs and allow employees to inspect and request copies of their time and pay records. The law also provides increased enforcement measures and prohibits wage theft by public works contractors and subcontractors. Employers must comply with the new requirements, summarized below, beginning January 1, 2017.

Itemized Pay Stubs

Under the new amendments to the current pay stub statute, ORS 652.610, employers will be required to provide much greater detail on itemized, written pay stubs, including:

  • the date of the payment;
  • the dates of work covered by the payment;
  • the employee’s name;
  • the name and business registry number or business identification number of the employer;
  • the address and telephone number of the employer;
  • the rate or rates of pay;
  • whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, or week or on a salary, piece, or commission basis;
  • gross wages;
  • net wages;
  • the amount and purpose of each deduction made during the period of service that the payment covers;
  • allowances, if any, claimed as part of minimum wage;
  • unless paid on a salary basis and legally exempt from overtime pay, the regular hourly rate or rates of pay, the overtime rate or rates of pay, the number of regular hours worked and pay for those hours, and the number of overtime hours worked and pay for those hours; and
  • if paid on a piece rate, the applicable piece rate or rates of pay, the number of pieces completed at each rate, and the total pay for each rate.

Employers may provide itemized pay stubs to employees in electronic form, but only if (1) the employee expressly agrees to receive them in electronic form; and (2) the employee has the ability to print or store the statement at the time of receipt.

Oregon law already provides that itemized pay stub violations constitute a Class D criminal violation, potentially punishable by a fine of up to $250 for individuals or $500 for corporations. Beginning on January 1, 2017, violations of these new pay stub provisions will also constitute a Class D criminal violation.

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DEFENDANT FACES ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR ATTEMPTING TO TAKE RESTITUTION MONEY FROM VICTIMS

*Defendant was also previously charged for conspiring to underpay employees on public works projects

Case # 16CF0632, 15CF1672

Date: March 14, 2016

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A defendant faces additional charges for attempting to take restitution money from victims in another open case. No Sung Pak, 75, Hollywood, is charged with two felony counts of attempted taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on a public work, and a sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years and 10 months in state prison for these charges. He was arraigned Friday, March 11, 2016, and is out of custody on $25,000 bail. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing May 26, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Pak and co-defendants Michael John Ferrin, 40, San Pedro, and Scott Sung Yang, 45, Los Angeles, are also each charged with five felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works and one felony count of recording a false forged instrument. Pak is additionally charged with 29 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to workers’ compensation insurance company. If convicted, Pak faces a maximum sentence of 27 years and four months in state prison for these charges, and Ferrin and Yang each face a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison. Ferrin and Yang are out of custody on $50,000 bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned on May 26, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center.

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California Public Works Contractors Must Register With State by March 2015

The California Legislature imposed a new registration requirement for contractors and subcontractors involved in public works projects. Senate Bill 854, passed in June, created a registration program, which went into effect on  July 1, to fund the Department of Industrial Relations’ monitoring and enforcement of prevailing wage laws.

The registration period is open now, and contractors and subcontractors wishing to work on a public works project must be registered by March 1, 2015. For public agencies/awarding bodies, the new law requires that all public works projects with bids submitted after March 1, 2015, or awarded on or after April 1, 2015, use only registered contractors and subcontractors. The bill also requires public agencies to include notice of the registration requirement in their bid invitations and bid documents.

Public agencies must additionally file notice of their public works projects with DIR using DIR form PWC-100 (contract award notice) for all public works projects. This requirement previously applied to about 90 percent of all projects.

Contractor and subcontractor registration is completed through an online application and requires a non-refundable $300 fee to be paid by the contractors and subcontractors. Contractors must pay an annual renewal fee by July 1 of each year. The registration form is located on the DIR’s website.

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