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News Release

Arizona utility subcontractor debarred from federally funded projects

US Department of Labor uncovers nearly $200,000 in back wages for workers

PHOENIX — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $198,085 in back wages for 23 workers employed by Glendale-based Tierra Contracting Inc. for willful violations of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Tierra Contracting and its owner, Richard Juarez Sr., also have been debarred from applying for federally funded contracts for a period of three years because of the egregious nature of the violations found.

Investigators with the department's Wage and Hour Division in Phoenix established that Tierra Contracting failed to pay the required prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits to power equipment operators, water truck drivers, pipe layers, grade setters and laborers working at the federally funded Northern Parkway highway project in Maricopa County. Tierra Contracting routinely submitted certified payroll records that did not accurately reflect the real hours worked by the affected employees. Employees were paid for overtime hours with separate checks, off-the-record and at straight-time rates, without the additional time-and-a-half, as required.

"This employer intentionally omitted from payroll records hours employees worked beyond 40 in a workweek to skirt payment of overtime rates," said Eric Murray, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Phoenix. "As a result of the willful violations found, Tierra Contracting has been determined ineligible to apply for federally funded projects."

Tierra Contracting was hired as a subcontractor by Lawrence Construction Co. to perform excavation and installation of water and sewer lines for the highway project. Lawrence Construction was awarded the project's prime contract by the Maricopa County Department of Transportation. The Northern Parkway is funded in part by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users.

SAFETEA-LU incorporates the provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, which requires payment of prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits to laborers and mechanics employed on federally funded projects. The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, which also applies to this project, requires contractors and subcontractors to pay laborers and mechanics working on federally funded projects one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

For more information on the laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency's toll-free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at

Wage and Hour Division
May 27, 2014
Release Number
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali