October 2015

Compliance News

In this issue of our quarterly newsletter on prevailing wage and Davis-Bacon Act compliance news and trends, we feature the Department of Labor's recent Colorado Wage Survey results, Freedom of Information Act improper fees and TCLG participation in the Oklahoma Building Trades Convention. 
As always, we're interested to know about the issues you're facing and the questions you may have in the complex arena of Davis-Bacon Act compliance. Please send us an email with feedback. Together, let's level the playing field! 
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UA Locals maintain prevailing wage in key Colorado counties after DOL Wage Survey

Torres Consulting & Law Group clients were victorious in the recent U.S. Department of Labor prevailing wage survey for Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sheet Metal workers in every county in Colorado. The U.S. Department of Labor survey results have been posted for the Colorado Building Survey conducted by the DOL for projects that were active and ongoing between April 1, 2012, and March 3, 2013.

"Colorado families and all workers won today," said TCLG Managing Partner Israel Torres. "Our compliance team is committed to making a difference in the lives of working families. We are thrilled to have helped our clients prove to the U.S. DOL that union wages prevail in Colorado. Unscrupulous contractors that drive wages down are not welcome in Colorado."

Federal Agencies Charging Improper Fees for Records Requests

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a key tool used for prevailing wage compliance to seek payrolls and contract documents from federal agencies for review.  TCLG has found NASA, VA, and other agencies are using the wrong test to categorize public watchdog style record requests as commercial use. Commercial use means for commerce trade or profit interests. A commercial use requester will have to pay more for the documents including the cost of search, duplication and review of the documents.
The law requires a 100 percent use based test for placement in this fee category, meaning the agency has to look at what the requester will actually do with the documents.  If a private citizen, a celebrity, a non-profit group and a mega corporation all wanted records to make a mailing list to send ads that could make them money, they all would be using the records for a commercial use. Use has nothing to do with who or what group is making the request. But TCLG has found that agencies are using a test that looks at the identity of the person or group making the request.  Some agencies are assuming that because the request came from a union that it must be for commercial use without actually looking at how the requested information is being used. This is a clear violation of the law and TCLG is fighting back.  

TCLG is appealing commercial use classifications within the agency and recently has filed a lawsuit against the VA for its continued use of the wrong test for fees.  If you submit a FOIA request for any reason, remember to pay attention to the fee category the agency places you in.  If the request is used for Davis-Bacon compliance and not for profit or trade, then the union should be placed in the third "all other" FOIA fee category.     

TCLG presents at Oklahoma State Building Trades Convention    
Patrice Stevens and Leslie Peaslee attended the Oklahoma State Building Trades Convention 2015. This is TCLG's third year presenting at the event. Patrice and Leslie discussed Davis Bacon Compliance and went over several issues the Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council has ongoing with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), including prevailing wage complaints TCLG submitted on their behalf. TCLG also held a certified payroll challenge, and the attendees were asked to identify the Davis Bacon violations on the certified payroll.
Patrice and Leslie had a great meeting with DOL District Director Speer and Assistant District Director Lonesky from the Oklahoma City Office and learned about their priorities for 2016.

Our Team

Managing Partner
Israel G. Torres

Laura Garcia

Public Affairs
Shannon Reed

Torres Law Group
James Barton

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