News Release

US Department of Labor finds Newark subcontractor failed to pay electricians’ wages, fringe benefits; recovers $202K in back wages

Master Electric Service and Maintenance incorrectly paid electricians a laborer rate

NEWARK, NJ – A U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found that a Newark subcontractor denied eight electricians their full wages and benefits for their work on a federally funded residential construction project in Plainfield by incorrectly identifying and paying them as laborers.

Master Electric Service and Maintenance employed the electricians at the Elmwood Square Apartments project, a 58-unit residential townhouse complex supported with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Contractors and subcontractors on federally funded projects must comply with federal laws, including the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division determined the employer violated the DBRA by incorrectly identifying the electricians as laborers. By doing so, Master Electric Service and Maintenance paid the electricians the lower prevailing wages and fringe benefits set for laborers, which also led to a CWHSSA violation.

The division recovered $202,896 in back wages for the electricians as a result of the investigation.

“The failures by Master Electric Service and Maintenance to identify and properly pay electricians on the Elmwood Square Apartments project shortchanged these workers of their rightful wages and benefits,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Paula Ruffin in Mountainside, New Jersey. “Contractors and subcontractors working on projects supported by federal funds must become familiar with all federal labor requirements and ensure they comply with all applicable laws.”

“To ensure these workers received their full prevailing wages, the division had the contracting agency withhold the back wages owed from the federal contract and will distribute the funds to the affected employees,” Ruffin added.

The division’s Northern New Jersey District Office investigated the case.

Learn more about the DBRA, the CWHSSA and other laws enforced by the division including a search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The department can speak with callers confidentially in more than 200 languages through the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Download the agency’s new Timesheet App, now available for android devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

Wage and Hour Division
July 26, 2022
Release Number
Media Contact: Leni Fortson
Media Contact: Joanna Hawkins
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