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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2010
Contractors Charged with Prevailing Wage Violations
Employer Faces 17 Criminal Counts for Failure to Pay Correct Wages
Jefferson City, Mo – An investigation conducted by the Missouri Labor Department’s Division of Labor Standards (DLS) has led to charges being filed against a Michigan contractor for failing to pay workers the appropriate prevailing wage rates on projects in Scott County.
“The prevailing wage law is designed in part to prevent out-of-state contractors from underbidding local contractors by paying substandard wages and failing to pay their taxes.” says Larry Rebman, Missouri Labor Department Director. “Our Department works to ensure that Missourians’ tax dollars building our public infrastructure don’t go to unscrupulous contractors that undercut local companies, local workers and the local economy.”
Municipal Construction Inc. (MCI), was the general contractor hired to perform work for the Scott County Public Water System Supply District No. 4 in Scott County, Mo. Missouri law requires that all workers on construction projects for a public body be paid the prevailing wage rates. The DLS determines prevailing wage rates for 26 occupational titles based on the wages actually paid within each county and the city of St. Louis.
The DLS received four complaints against MCI for failing to pay the appropriate prevailing wage rates owed to workers for the type of work they performed. On April 20, 2010, Scott County Prosecutor Paul R. Boyd filed 11 criminal counts against MCI’s president, Norman Bass of Goodrich, Michigan. Bass faces five counts of felony forgery, and six counts of violating the Missouri Prevailing Wage laws. Project Superintendent Thomas LaCosse of South Lake, Texas faces six counts of violating the Missouri Prevailing Wage Laws.
The DLS investigators discovered the contractors violated the law on numerous occasions by failing to pay workers back wages for performing overtime work, and not paying the correct wages for the their occupational title. The Department’s audits revealed at least 17 affected workers who were underpaid a total of $65,788.05.
During fiscal year 2009, the Department found 126 prevailing wage violations on Missouri’s public works projects affecting 995 workers throughout the state. The Department assessed a total of more than $1,127,070 in owed wages as a result of these violations and has since collected more than $1,101,340 and distributed these funds to the workers.
The Department urges all employees to file a complaint with the DLS if they feel they are not being paid the proper wages. To file a wage complaint or to learn more about Missouri’s prevailing wage rates, visit www.labor.mo.gov/dls/prevailingwage/index.asp.
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