Saving money on a prevailing wage project by not paying the required Common Construction Wage is not worth the risks and penalties you may face. Since 2011, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has pursued three cases alleging Common Construction Wage violations. The Common Construction Wage is a rate of pay established by local committees on any state or locally funded projects over $350,000. There are three classes of workers on Common Construction Wage projects: skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled.
In two recent cases, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office reached plea agreements with two separate contractors who were alleged to have paid their workers less than the required wage. Art Rafati, who owns Artistic Construction Inc., allegedly underpaid four employees on a curb and sidewalk project in Center Township. David Roark, owner of D. Roark Drywall LLC, allegedly underpaid his employees on the Barton Towers remodeling project. Roark allegedly paid some of his employees as little as $12 per hour, when the Common Construction Wage required he pay a minimum common wage plus fringe benefits of $39.91 per hour. Both pleaded guilty to various forms of theft charges.
Marion County has held the position that not only are the individual employees not getting paid what they’re owed, but the contractors and subcontractors who play by the rules can’t effectively bid against those who go into it knowing they’re going to cheat. A contractor can afford to under-bid a project knowing they are going to make that money back by not paying their employees the Common Construction Wage, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said.
Before taking on a Common Construction Wage project, it is strongly recommended to make sure you understand the requirements, the rate of pay, and the potential risks you face if you refuse to meet the wage requirements.
By: Roy Rodabaugh is an attorney focusing in the area of construction law