Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Truck drivers of Winfield, Ala.-based R.L. Box receive nearly $63,000 in back wages and benefits following US Department of Labor investigation
US Postal Service contractor violated McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act
WINFIELD, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $62,836 in back wages and benefits for 31 truck drivers employed by Winfield-based R.L. Box Inc. following an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found violations of the prevailing wage rate and fringe benefit requirements of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act as well as the record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
R.L. Box has a federal service contract with the U.S. Postal Service to transport bulk mail to mail centers in Alabama and Mississippi. In lieu of providing the actual fringe benefits, the contractor elected to pay for those benefits as part of employees’ hourly rates. The violations resulted in a total of $17,064 in fringe benefits owed to 31 employees and $45,772 in unpaid prevailing wages owed to 29 of those same employees.
“The terms of federally funded contracts are clear and well-established in the bidding process and upon award of a contract. Federal contractors must comply with these terms and pay their workers proper prevailing wages and benefits. These vital requirements are in place to protect the wage rates of local communities and provide quality jobs for our nation’s workers,” said Kenneth Stripling, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Birmingham District Office, which conducted the investigation. “The Labor Department is committed to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used properly by companies performing work for the federal government and, as demonstrated by the resolution of this case, we are vigorously pursuing violators to ensure compliance and accountability under the law.”
Through conducting interviews and reviewing records of actual hours worked, holiday and vacation hours, and regular rates of pay, investigators determined that the employer had failed to count all hours worked and pay the required prevailing wage rate, because most drivers were not paid for pre-trip inspections of their vehicles or the training time required to learn mail routes. Additionally, drivers were not paid the full increase in their hourly rates when the Postal Service made increases in its wage and health and welfare rates, the cost of fuel was deducted from a worker’s pay in one instance, the wrong health and welfare rates were paid for all hours worked up to 40 a week, holiday pay was not provided to drivers until they had worked with the contractor for at least a year, the health and welfare rate was not paid on holiday hours for part-time or intermittent workers, and vacation pay was not provided to part-time or intermittent workers.
The back wages owed have been in full. The employer agreed to maintain future compliance with the SCA and committed to maintaining accurate records of employees’ full work periods, paying accurate prevailing wages and benefits for all hours worked, making timely and correct payments into employees’ retirement funds, and providing holiday and vacation pay as required under the contract.
The SCA requires that contractors and subcontractors performing services on covered federal contracts in excess of $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality, or rates contained in a predecessor contractor’s collective bargaining agreement. The FLSA requires employers to keep accurate records of employees’ hours, pay and other working conditions.
For more information about the SCA, FLSA and other federal labor laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or its Birmingham office at 205-397-7100. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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