Sheet Metal Workers Win After DOL Review Reveals Contractors’ Inaccurate Wage Survey Responses

August 2, 2022

Regional worker wage surveys are supposed to ensure that workers on federally funded projects governed by Davis-Bacon and Related Acts are paid the wages they have earned. Yet, when contractors provide inaccurate information on their wage surveys, whether dishonestly or by mistake, it’s workers who feel the effects.

Torres Consulting and Law Group noticed that the wages set for sheet metal workers in El Paso County, Colorado, based on surveys published in 2015, did not reflect the area’s average for that specific skilled trade. TCLG’s compliance team worked with Sheet Metal Air Railroad and Transportation Workers Local Union 9 (SMART Local 9) to investigate the matter and found that an inflated number of sheet metal workers were reported for multiple projects. This skews the average wage calculations resulting in lower wages for skilled tradespersons. On behalf of SMART Local 9, TCLG contacted the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and requested a formal review and reconsideration of the prevailing wage and fringe benefits rates.

WHD responded to the request and conducted a thorough review of the relevant survey’s project and wage data and determined that certain corrections were warranted to reflect the proper prevailing wage rates for the sheet metal worker classifications issue.

“As a result, the classification of Sheet Metal Worker (HVAC Duct Installation Only) ceased to reflect a weighted average wage rate and now reflects a majority prevailing wage rate,” said Matthew Hardin, WHD Chief, Branch of Wage Surveys.

“Our compliance team is committed to making sure that workers are paid the wages they have earned and deserve, and we’re pleased that we could help the workers from SMART Local 9 resolve this matter,” said Israel G. Torres, TCLG Managing Partner.