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Department of Labor finds contractors violated federal prevailing wage law on Waukesha County project

Federal investigation finds workers shortchanged by $1.2M

Dow Styrofoam is used on the exterior of a building under construction.
In this Jan. 23, 2006 photo, Dow Styrofoam is used on the exterior of a building under construction in Wauwatosa, Wis. Morry Gash/AP Photo

More than 140 construction workers will receive back pay following a federal investigation into wages paid on a housing development in Oconomowoc.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Labor, 21 construction companies violated prevailing wage laws while working on a federally-assisted 302-unit apartment complex in the Pabst Farms development in Waukesha County.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated the development, which is insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is subject to the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. That law requires that workers on federally assisted construction projects are paid no less than the prevailing local wage.

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Through the investigation, the department found that 142 workers were shortchanged in hourly and overtime wages by more than $1.2 million.

According to a statement from the department, the investigation found the prime contractor for the project, McShane Construction Company LLC of Rosemont, Illinois, violated federal law by failing to provide subcontractors with accurate information on wage rates to pay workers. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Our recovery of an average of $8,694 per worker will benefit these workers and their families financially and make a positive economic impact in their communities,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Michael Lazzeri in a formal statement.

In addition to the enforcement action, the division is doing outreach on prevailing wage compliance with employers through the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Builders Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin and the National Association of Minority Contractors-Wisconsin Chapter.

“Unfortunately, we often see violations in the construction industry related to employee misclassification, prevailing wages, overtime pay and the use of subcontractors and laborers who may not understand their rights,” said Kristin Tout, Wage and Hour Division district director, in a formal statement.