U.S. Labor Department seeks nearly $1.4 million in back wages, plus debarment, of California mail hauling company
Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the filing of an administrative complaint against Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Alan Berman Trucking to recover $1,369,870 in back wages for 80 current and former employees. The complaint also seeks debarment of the company and its principals, which would prohibit them from receiving government contracts for a period of three years.
“Federal contractors have a responsibility to pay workers in accordance with federal law,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
Alan Berman Trucking had some $10 million in mail hauling contracts with the U.S. Postal Service subject to the Service Contract Act (SCA) during the time period investigated, providing services from postal facilities in the greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.
Investigators with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division found violations on eight contracts where the company treated the drivers as independent contractors, requiring that they use their own trucks and assume all costs. The company paid employees either by the mile or by the trip, failed to record hours worked and failed to pay any fringe benefits as required by law. In addition, the company made illegal deductions for fuel from the drivers’ pay and failed to reimburse the cost of the driver-owned trucks’ maintenance and wear and tear. As a result, the drivers’ wages fell below the prevailing wage rate required by the SCA.
The back wage compensation sought covers work performed between June 2004 and February 2007. This investigation is the department’s ninth of the company, and violations of federal labor laws were found during seven prior investigations. This suit names the company, as well as president Alan Berman of Woodland Hills, Calif., and vice president Osvaldo “Ozzie”Tarditti of Northridge, Calif., as defendants.
Under the SCA, contractors and subcontractors on federal service contracts exceeding $2,500 must pay their service workers no less than the wages and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality. The Labor Department issues wage determinations that provide the required SCA wage rate and fringe benefits for each service occupation. These determinations are incorporated into covered federal contracts.
For further information about the SCA and other laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the department’s toll-free helpline at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243), visit the division’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/ or contact the division’s Los Angeles District Office at (213) 894-6375.
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Chao v. Alan Berman Trucking et al
Case Number: SCA-2007SCA00010