The Denver City Auditor is responsible for enforcing the City’s Prevailing and Living Wage requirements. This is done through the Prevailing Wage Division of the Office. The Prevailing Wage and Living Wage ordinance requires the payment of the correct and appropriate wages and benefits for workers on city projects. You can learn more about Prevailing and Living Wage here.
Alfonzo Flores, left, completes paperwork to receive his back pay check from the Auditor's Office. Carol Carter, Prevailing Wage Division Assistant, and Investigator Stan Cuba, who conducted the audit that led to Flores' additional payment, presented him with the check.
Over the past year, Prevailing Wage Investigator Stan Cuba uncovered more than $14,000 in underpayment to employees of a single tenant finish contractor at Denver International Airport. “Three workers were getting paid as laborers, but performing more skilled work,” Cuba explained.
Alfonzo Flores and two other workers were awarded between $3,000 and $6,000 each in back pay for performing painting, carpentry, tile setting and shuttle bus driving work. When Cuba interviewed the workers on their duties and compared their classification as laborers in the payroll submitted by the contractor, he found the discrepancy.
“This case is a perfect example of why field work is necessary to enforce the Prevailing Wage ordinance,” observed Carol Carter, who handles administrative tasks for the Prevailing Wage division. “Without actually talking to the workers, you have only the payroll record showing how they were classified by the employer. Paying employees as laborers while they are actually doing more skilled work is one of the common Prevailing Wage violations.”
“The company, Rand Corporation readily adjusted these employees’ pay to the proper amount,” said Cuba, a 16-year veteran of the division. “The proper pay is not only fair to the workers, but it puts all those who bid on City construction projects on an even playing field with respect to labor costs. The contractors know what the wages will be going in, taking some of the risk out of the bidding process.”
Thorough investigatory practices by the Denver Auditor’s office led to a carom benefit for Denver International Airport contract workers. While in the field investigating job sites at DIA, the Auditor’s Prevailing Wage investigators happened upon another project on DIA property. The project, known as the DIA Jackson Gap Road Extension, was located along the northern border of Aurora where construction on a new Aurora parking structure was underway.
After conducting interviews with workers on the job site, Prevailing Wage investigators determined that their employees were being underpaid for the work they were doing, either as a result of unreported hours or mistaken job classifications. Prevailing Wage investigators contacted the contractor responsible for the project and put in motion the steps necessary to ensure the underpaid workers received proper compensation for their work. The process took time, but the Auditor’s office is happy to report that the contractor involved in these underpayments has been cooperative, and workers have received checks for the prevailing wages owed.
Valerie Ramirez, Contract Compliance Coordinator, garnered substantial pay differentials for three workers in particular. Over the course of one month, these individuals received payments of $4,423.83, $4,068.56, and $2,318.92 for a restitution totaling $10,811.31. Thanks to the diligence and oversight of Ms. Ramirez and the Auditor’s Prevailing Wage Division, workers at the DIA Jackson Gap Road Extension job site are now being properly paid, as mandated by current prevailing wage rates and Denver’s municipal code.
Prevailing wage determinations are made for the following categories:
If you worked on a City job, you may be owed money. Check here.
A study regarding the impact of the public dissemination of information related to Davis-Bacon (Prevailing Wage) wage information used data from our LCP certified payrolls. You can read the study.