US Labor Department secures nearly $2M in back wages, benefits
for nearly 150 workers at federally-funded solar energy project in Nevada
LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $1,914,681.50 in back wages and fringe benefits for 147 workers at Proimtu Mmi-Nv LLC, a Henderson-based subcontractor providing construction services at the federally funded Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah. This project, which received a $737 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, is a 110 MW solar energy power plant that will power up to 75,000 homes during peak electricity periods.
“The money we’ve recovered for these workers is not a windfall — it is their hard-earned pay that their employer was legally obligated to pay them but did not,” said Dr. David Weil, administrator of the department’s Wage and Hour Division. “Companies that benefit from federal funding must see to it that the money is used properly, and that their workers are compensated according to the law.”
An investigation found that Proimtu Mmi-Nv violated the prevailing wage and fringe benefits requirements of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts for the majority of their employees working at the Tonopah desert solar energy project. The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project is subject to specific requirements under the DBRA since its funding includes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Investigators established that from June 2013 through April 2014, Proimtu Mmi-Nv failed to pay workers the correct prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits for their particular job duties. The contractor paid “general laborers” rates to workers that routinely performed duties in skilled trades, such as ironworking, electrical work, painting or bridge crane operation, that should have commanded fringe benefits and prevailing wages of up to two times more than they were paid.
In addition to paying back wages and fringe benefits, Proimtu Mmi-Nv now properly classifies its workers by paying them the correct prevailing wages and fringe benefits for all hours worked, including overtime, as required. In addition, the subcontractor has also agreed to raise awareness with other employers working at Crescent Dunes about prevailing wage requirements.
For information on federal wage requirements and laws, contact the Wage and Hour Division’s Las Vegas District Office at 702-928-1240 or the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available athttp://www.dol.gov/whd/.