Worker Center Network

Prevailing Wage Settlement Return 17,000 in Back-Wage for Workers

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After a sub-contractor at University of Wisconsin — Whitewater cheated workers by stealing their wages. Two workers went to the Workers' rights Center in Madison for help claiming the wages that had been stolen. The Workers' Rights Center in Madison after hearing the two of the workers stories contacted the employer to ask him to voluntarily pay the employees their due earned wages.

In spite of WRC attempt to reach out to the employer, the workers had to file a formal complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development. They did so after the employer refused to the settle with the two men. The company was being contracted to paint the UW Whitewater campus, which is classified as a state government agency. Investigators discovered  the two workers were supposed to be payed a prevailing wage. Under federal and state law, governmental agencies must pay trades workers, at minimum, the prevailing wage of similar jobs pay in a given area. This practice is to discourage outside contractors who provide lower wages from taking jobs from local workers unless they seek to provide a prevailing wage.

The non-unionized subcontractor (working under a unionized contractor) is expected to pay prevailing wages according to the contract, but did not and paid below the contract. The investigation lead to the discovery of the discrepincy. 

After a lengthy battle, the two employees received prevailing wage settlement checks, totaling $17,000-the amount the contractor should have paid them in the first place. The two men came to pick up their checks from the Workers' Rights Center in Madison shortly before Christmas, 2012.

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