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Contractor Settles Painter Wage Case

Monday, March 10, 2014

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A longtime Pittsburgh-based industrial painting company has agreed to pay more than $25,000 in back wages and damages to 26 painters who were defrauded of appropriate pay, the Department of Labor has announced.

QSC Contracting LLC, now in its fifth generation of business, paid a total of $25,468 to the painters after an investigation by DOL's Wage and Hour Division.

QSC Contracting
Photos: QSC Contracting LLC

The industrial painting contractor was accused of overtime and recordkeeping violations.

The firm violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime and record-keeping provisions, DOL reported March 3.

'Unfair Competitive Advantage'

"Employees of QSC Contracting worked without receiving legally required overtime compensation," said John DuMont, director of the division's Pittsburgh District Office.

"This practice harms not only employees and their families, but employers that violate the law have an unfair competitive advantage. The FLSA provides that employers that violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages."

QSC Contracting

QSC Contracting specializes in painting transmission towers, substation and utility structures.

Federal investigators had found that the company unlawfully paid employees straight-time wages, rather than time-and-one-half, for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Federal law requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour as well as time-and-one-half for hours worked over 40 per week.

The employer also failed to maintain accurate records of employees' work hours, as required by law, authorities said.

Future Compliance

QSC Contracting has agreed to future compliance with wage laws, and has paid the back wages and liquidated damages in full, DOL said.

QSC Contracting

The contractor provides industrial painting services for coal, oil and gas, and other heavy industries.

QSC Contracting did not respond to a request Friday (March 7) for comment on the allegations or the settlement.

On its website, the company describes itself as a national company that specializes in the painting and cleaning of energized transmission towers/substations, tanks, power plants, coal mines and bridges.

While touting the quality of its painters as "qualified, experienced and specialists in their particular sector," the company also notes that it is "constantly looking for new ways to improve our production cost ratio without compromising safety and integrity. This in turn means a savings to our customers."


Tagged categories: Business management; Enforcement; Industrial Contractors; Oil and Gas; Painters; Painting Contractor; Tanks and vessels; Transmission Towers; Workers

Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/10/2014, 6:20 AM)

That solidifies the union being involved in big projects. Over the course of my career, I have worked for a couple of company's that would play various games with your time. 1 out of Tarpon Springs Florida would pay your overtime as per diem. It would take a CPA each week to figure out if he screwed you or not. Then the crew would have to race to the bank because only half of the checks would cash on pay day. These types of companys need to be reported, fined, and put out of business.

Comment from Billy Russell, (3/10/2014, 7:07 AM)

Makes the certified payroll requirement kind of suspicious, the games being plaid with payroll, per diem, overtime are an example of why there needs to be more oversight with Federally funded projects, they are avoiding the rules with our Tax dollars. and nobody is paying attention .

Comment from Mike McCloud, (3/10/2014, 7:43 AM)

Michael, Being on both sides, I've seen union companies just as bad. With the government more and more involved with labor, OSHA, EPA etc. there is less and less need for the unions. I have found that the merit of a mans work and not the need for the cost of a mouth piece puts more money in a mans pocket, over time.

Comment from joe friedt, (3/10/2014, 8:27 AM)

So many safety violations in this top picture. Not using a safety hook on the rigging no safety line, no harness. You might want to use it to show how not to be safe.

Comment from Kevin Oyloe, (3/10/2014, 9:16 AM)

I agree with you Mike, the union philosophy is antiquated. Why put another layer of rules on a work day. Excellent point Joe, where's is his harness? So isn't this documented evidence of violating the rule. Why would a company jack around the most important asset it has, it's employees, just pay them.

Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/11/2014, 6:12 AM)

I agree with y’all on the flagrant safety violations in the pic. That’s the first thing i noticed. He has 1 hand on his roller handle and I'm assuming someone on the ground is holding his stop line on the boatswain chair, lets hope that guy is not down there smoking a joint or looking at some chick pass by. And i would've commented on it, but that is not the topic here. And i'm going to have to disagree with the man that said there is less and less need for unions. That's bull#@%*. Non union company's take Joe blow off the street and put a blast hose in his hand for $12 to $14 dollars an hour. The unions that I'm affiliated with provide top quality personnel and pay them $40 to $60 an hour plus another $30 or $40 to our retirement and insurance. Greed is the driving force behind any corruption, whether it's union or non union.

Comment from James Albertoni, (3/11/2014, 10:08 AM)

In regards to the safety issue, I can only assume he is only sitting 2 feet off the ground ;) In regards to the unions, it can swing both ways. There are a couple places here in CA where the non-union shops pay more and take care of their workers better so they can keep the well trained folks on staff and not have to worry about getting a bad apple from the union. They have to pay more because the cost of living is so high out here.

Comment from Car F., (3/11/2014, 11:14 AM)


Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/12/2014, 8:35 AM)

The guy in the boatswains chair is hanging off of the side of an above ground storage tank(I've worked many of them). By the looks of the placement of the decal, he is a little over halfway to 2/3rds of the way up, making him well above 6'. Boatswains chairs are outdated and have been replaced with spiders and sky climbers. As far as the quality of personnel goes, having 22 years as a coatings supervisor, there are both bad and good workers, whether it is union or non union. Fortunately union states are swinging toward all painters having CAS cards, C-3, C-5 and C-7 training which makes it much harder to just waltz onto a job and try to wing it.

Comment from Randy Gordon, (3/14/2014, 10:18 AM)

Last time I picked apart a published photo for numerous safety violations, such as this, the editor in chief called me on the phone within minutes! She explained that they have troubles obtaining high quality pics of what we do so we all need to feed them high quality pics of doing things the right way. =)

Comment from Mary Chollet, (3/14/2014, 10:29 AM)

All, your comments are totally valid and most appreciated. While PaintSquare strives to emphasize best practices, the photo in this case was selected because it is the contractor's own depiction of its work. We're pleased that, in this case, a perhaps-questionable image has stimulated such a positive safety discussion. Thanks to all.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/17/2014, 9:59 AM)

Thanks, Mary! While the safety practices are sad, I find it funny that the company in question supplied a photo with such obvious safety issues.

Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/18/2014, 6:06 AM)

Mary, thanks to you and your staff for all the articles covering a multitude of subjects here on paintsquare. It has opened up knowledge for so many that would not otherwise be available. I personally send all paint square issues to a folder so i can browse whenever i feel the need. I have to agree with Tom as to how that a company would knowingly send any pics in with flagrant safety violations. Unfortunately, after working coatings projects for 28 years, the sad realistic fact is that you could walk on ANY paint job and within minutes notice some kind of safety violation. With these fatalities from falls, you can bet that there was fall protection available, whether it was horizontal safety line or vertical lines with rope grabs. It is the human element that creates these situations. All it takes is a split second of not being tied off and that combined with a slip, getting off balance, being distracted, etc...then gravity takes over.....and it"s over! R.I.P. our fallen brothers.

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