Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
MILWAUKEE -- 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.
“In this competitive contracting environment, no contractor should gain an economic advantage by paying workers below the required wages and fringe benefits on a prevailing wage project. Not only does this practice undercut what is legally owed to the workers involved, it results in unfair competition,” said Theresa Walls, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Minneapolis District Office. “Enforcement of the prevailing wage laws levels the playing field for all contractors.”
The Wage and Hour Division found significant violations of the DBRA and CWHSSA by Anointed Cleaners, including failing to pay proper prevailing wages. Workers were paid $2 to $3 less per hour in base wages than the required prevailing rates and were not paid required fringe benefits of $3 per hour. Investigators also found that the company failed to pay employees overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week.
Additionally, Anointed Cleaners falsified payroll forms and indicated workers were paid the required prevailing wages and reported fewer hours than those actually worked by employees. As a result of the violations of the CWHSSA, liquidated damages were assessed against the employer by the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority
The Davis-Bacon Act requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally-funded projects to pay their laborers and mechanics the proper prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits as determined by the secretary of labor. On a Davis-Bacon Act covered project, the prime contractor is responsible for the compliance of subcontractors and lower-tier subcontractors.
Upon being notified of the subcontractor’s violations, prime contractor Altius Construction accepted responsibility for paying all back wages and fringe benefits owed to the affected workers. As a result of the investigation, Altius Construction removed Anointed Cleaners from the Westlawn housing project site.
The CWHSSA applies to federal service contracts and federal and federally assisted construction contracts over $100,000. These require contractors and subcontractors on covered contracts to pay laborers and mechanics employed in the performance of the contracts one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Westlawn is Wisconsin’s largest public housing development. First developed in the 1950s, the 75-acre development on Milwaukee’s northwest side is undergoing revitalization by the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority.
For more information about the Davis-Bacon Act, the CWHSSA and other federal laws, contact the Wage and Hour Division’s Minneapolis District Office at 612-370-3341 or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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