Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Minnesota contractor to pay nearly $150,000 in back wages to 14 employees working on federal project following US Labor Department investigation
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Wiebolt Electric Inc. of Bemidji has agreed to pay nearly $150,000 to 13 current and former electricians and electrician apprentices and one office worker following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Wiebolt is an electrical contractor performing work on the new U.S. land port of entry facility in Warroad, Minn.
Investigators found that the electricians and apprentices were denied proper compensation for all hours they worked in violation of the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act, and the office worker was not paid overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, some apprentices were not properly compensated for overtime hours under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.
“The terms of federal construction contracts are very clear. Workers must be paid the locally prevailing wage and benefits,” said Jose Medina, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Minneapolis District Office. “In some cases, there was a difference of more than $15 per hour between required wage rates and the amounts actually paid by Wiebolt Electric and its president, Darwin Wiebolt. That is simply unacceptable, and the resolution of this case should remind all contractors of their legal responsibility to ensure that workers are classified correctly, and paid full and fair wages.”
The DBA requires that mechanics and laborers working on federally financed construction projects must be paid full prevailing wages, including fringe benefits, for all hours of their work. Apprentices or trainees may be employed at less than the rates listed in the contract wage determination only when they are in an apprenticeship program registered with the Labor Department, or with a state apprenticeship agency recognized by the department.
Investigators found that some workers were not individually registered in an approved apprenticeship program, and some registered apprentices were working outside the required ratio of journeymen to apprentices. In both cases, the employees should have been paid wages and benefits at the journeyman level.
The contractor has agreed to pay $149,673 in back wages and comply all federal wage requirements, including maintaining the proper ratio of apprentices to journeymen, in the future.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the FLSA requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained. The CWHSSA requires contractors on federally funded construction projects to pay time and one-half the basic hourly wage rate to laborers and mechanics who work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
For more information about the DBA, CWHSSA, FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s Minneapolis office at 612-370-3341 or the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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