GRAND RAPIDS MICH. — The Christman Company paid more than $26,000 in back wages and benefits to 18 workers on the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans after a federal investigation found the subcontractor who employed them had underpaid them.
Federal law requires contractors and subcontractors on federally funded construction projects to pay prevailing wage rates and benefits to all laborers on site.
A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found that Staffing Solutions Inc. of Grand Rapids hired and paid the 18 workers as laborers when, in fact, most of them performed carpentry work, according to a news release.
Instead of paying the $18.14 per hour prevailing wage rate for carpentry work, Staffing Solutions paid most of the workers between $15 and $18 an hour, failed to provide fringe benefits and failed to pay correct overtime rates, the Department of Labor said.
The Christman Company was the prime contractor on the project. Federal law mandates that prime contractors make sure their subcontractors comply with the law and certify payrolls properly.
“Enforcement of the prevailing wage laws levels the playing field for all contractors and protects the wages of hard-working, middle-class American workers,” said Mary O’Rourke, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Grand Rapids, in a statement released Thursday. “The Wage and Hour Division will remain vigilant in its enforcement to ensure employees are paid in accordance with prevailing wage laws. Contractors with questions about their responsibilities are encouraged to call us, confidentially, for help.”