DOL Seeks Nearly $1.4 Million in Back Wages, Debarment of Mail Hauling Company

The U.S. Department of Labor yesterday announced the filing of an administrative complaint against Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Alan Berman Trucking (ABT) to recover $1,369,870 in back wages for 80 current and former employees, and to seek debarment of the company and its principals, prohibiting 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.

ABT 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 DOL'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. ABT 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, president Alan Berman, and vice president Osvaldo "Ozzie" Tarditti 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. For more information about the SCA and other laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call 866-487-9243 or visit www.wagehour.dol.gov.

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