Missouri contractor under fire for alleged low pay, unsafe working conditions
- Springfield, Missouri-based contractor Delco Construction is under fire for alleged unsafe working conditions and failure to pay prevailing wage rates, according to the Springfield News-Leader. Company owner Jeff Delmont has denied the allegations.
- Some union members, local politicians and workers have staged protests outside of Delco's offices, claiming that the contractor does not offer its workers enough training, pays low wages and forces employees to endure unsafe working conditions. Delmont, who has been supported by counter-protestors, maintains that those claims are unfounded and that he is a victim of union bullying because he won't join up. About a dozen workers have filed a lawsuit in the Greene County (Missouri) Circuit Court, alleging that Delco did not pay them the required prevailing wage on some public works projects.
- Delmont claims his workers' compensation experience modification rate — a rate determining how much an employer will pay for workers' compensation insurance which can be negatively impacted by accident history — reflects a safe work history. His attorney told the News-Leader that employees have been paid correctly under applicable prevailing wage contracts. An OSHA establishment search showed inspections of Delco sites earlier this year, including one in March 2018 which resulted in one serious violation and a fine of $2,356. The penalty amount was negotiated down to $1,178 and the case closed. OSHA records do not reflect any other inspections or fines levied against Delco.
Missouri residents showed their support for the union cause last month when 67% of state voters voted to overturn a right-to-work law that former Gov. Eric Greitens signed in Feb. 2017. State lawmakers could reintroduce a similar bill, but it's unlikely to make it past committee since voters have expressed their objection to such a law.
However, the Republican-controlled legislature hasn't given up trying to pick away at laws that mandate how contractors pay their employees on government-funded jobs. In July, Gov. Michael Parson signed a new measure that repealed a portion of the state's prevailing wage laws.
Effective Aug. 28, prevailing wage rates won’t be paid on public works projects with an accepted bid or estimated cost of $75,000 or less. On non-exempt projects, workers will be paid either the prevailing wage or the public works contracting minimum wage, which is 120% of the average hourly wage in the project's locality.
According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, 27 states have right-to-work laws on the books, including those that prevent employees from being forced to join unions or pay union dues.
- Springfield News-Leader Labor protest claims DelCo cheats workers; owner says he's a victim of union bullying
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