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News Release

U.S. Labor Department Recovers $181,689 in Back Pay for 164 Workers Involved in Hurricane Debris Clean-up

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Labor Department announced today that it has recovered a total of $181,689 in back wages for 164 employees who performed debris removal for three different companies in the Gulf Coast region. These three lower-tiered government subcontractors agreed to pay their workers back wages following investigations by the department's Wage and Hour Division under the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA).

Richard Disposal Inc. and Kimberly Wilson doing business as Garretson Construction of New Orleans performed debris removal services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in Orleans Parish and Ninnahtoosii Inc. of Hattiesburg, Miss., worked for the Corps in Forrest and Lamar Counties, Miss. The Corps contracts were subject to the prevailing wage provisions of the SCA and the overtime requirements of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA).

"Workers are entitled to be paid the applicable federal wage rate for every hour worked," said Alfred B. Robinson, Jr., acting administrator for the Wage and Hour Division. "Those individuals who contribute their labor to the hurricane recovery effort must be paid in accordance with the prevailing federal wage laws."

The investigations were conducted as part of Wage and Hour Division's ongoing hurricane-related initiative to ensure that workers involved in hurricane-related clean-up and reconstruction activities are being properly compensated. Wage and Hour Division investigators determined that all three companies failed to pay their employees the appropriate SCA fringe benefits and in some instances failed to pay for all hours worked. Garretson Construction and Ninnahtoosii also did not pay the correct overtime compensation to some employees who worked more than 40 hours in a work week. Even though the companies were unfamiliar with the SCA requirements, they cooperated with the Wage and Hour Division investigations to voluntarily resolve the violations.

Under the SCA, contractors and subcontractors performing on federal services contracts in excess of $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality. The CWHSSA requires the payment of time-and-one-half the basic rate of pay for all hours worked more than 40 in a work week. Contractors must ensure that their subcontractors are fully informed of the requirements under federal government contract labor laws. Contractors that fail to properly compensate their workers are subject to federal withholding contract clauses that allow the government to withhold contract payments until all workers are paid the prevailing wages and fringe benefits.

For more information about the SCA and other federal prevailing wage laws, call the Department of Labor's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at and at


Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
July 17, 2006