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Federal wage investigations recover $607K for 227 workers on extension of Valley Metro Light Rail in Phoenix

Subcontractors underpaid workers, wrongly classified tradesmen as general laborers


The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $607,395 in back wages for 227 people working on an extension of the Valley Metro Light Rail system in the Phoenix metro area. 


Several investigations of the companies working for Omaha, Nebraska-based Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. — the federally supported project’s prime contractor — identified violations of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

 

“A prime contractor is responsible for ensuring that subcontractors follow all regulations and procedures for projects supported, in part or fully — with federal funds — including paying prevailing wages and providing required benefits,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Murray in Phoenix. “The Wage and Hour Division is determined to ensure that federally funded construction projects provide workers and local communities with the intended economic benefits.”

 

Division investigators found subcontractors’ violations of federal contract laws included the following:


  • Kimbrell Electric Inc., a Glendale electrical contractor, failed to pay correct prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits. The company incorrectly classified electricians and paid them as pipelayers, common and general laborers, and power tool operators. The division recovered $350,659 for 107 employees. After a separate 2015 investigation of Kimbrell Electric, the division recovered $184,389 owed to 61 workers.

  • Specialized Services Co, a Phoenix excavation services provider, wrongly classified employees as power tool operators when they were working as vacuum truck hose operators, which led the employer to underpay prevailing wages and fringe benefits to 42 employees. The division recovered $23,772 owed to these employees.

  • Badger Infrastructure Solutions, a Brownsburg, Indiana-based hydro-excavation services company that operates as Badger Daylighting, incorrectly classified vacuum truck operators as common and general laborers. By doing so, the employer failed to pay employees the required prevailing wages, fringe benefits and overtime rates. The division recovered $76,745 for 35 employees.

  • AJ Roberts Industrial Inc., a Chandler employer, incorrectly classified iron workers as power tool operators. By doing so, the company paid them significantly lower prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits than required for iron workers. The division recovered $142,659 for 23 workers.

  • Roadway Electric LLC, a Phoenix electrical contractor incorrectly classified electricians as common and general laborers and pipelayers and, by doing so, did not pay them the correct electricians’ prevailing wage rates. The division recovered $13,458 in back wages owed to 20 workers. A separate 2020 investigation by the division also found violations of federal labor laws, leading to the recovery of $81,909 for 34 employees.

 

The division frequently finds contractors on DBRA projects incorrectly classify specific trades as laborers; fail to pay full prevailing wages, including fringe benefits; fail to maintain complete and accurate records; and do not post Davis-Bacon Act informational posters and the applicable wage determination at worksites.

 

Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and with support provided by the Phoenix Transportation 2050 plan and the regional Proposition 400 initiative, the Northwest Phase II extension of the Valley Metro Light Rail opened to the public on Jan. 27, 2024.

 

Learn more about the DBRA, the CWHSSA and other laws enforced by the division, as well as a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. The division 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, available for Android and iOS devices in English and Spanish, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

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